Social isolation and loneliness are associated with a nearly 30% increased risk of heart attack or stroke, or death from either, according to a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association, published today in Journal of the American Heart Association. The statement also found a lack of information about activities that can improve heart health for people who live in social or solitary life.
“Over forty years of research has shown this clearly exclusion from the public same to you loneliness both are associated with illness is the result“said Crystal Wiley Cené, MD, MPH, FAHA, chair of the writing group for scientific information, and professor of clinical medicine and chief executive officer for health equity, diversity and inclusion at University of California San Diego Health. “It’s a given. With the prevalence of social isolation across the United States, the public health implications are critical.”
Social risk loneliness it increases with age because the things of life, such as widowhood and retirement. About a quarter of American adults age 65 and older are socially isolated, and the rate of loneliness is even higher, with estimates ranging from 22% to 47%. However, young adults also experience isolation and loneliness. A study from Harvard University’s Making Caring Common project identified “Gen Z” (adults currently aged 18-22) as the loneliest generation. Increased isolation and loneliness among young adults can be attributed to greater use of social media and less involvement in meaningful in-person activities.
Data also shows that social isolation and loneliness may increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially among young people aged 18-25, seniors, women and those with low incomes.
Social isolation is defined as being in constant contact with people for social relations, such as with family, friends or members of the same community or religious group. Loneliness is when you feel like you are alone or have less connection with others than you would like. “Although social isolation and loneliness are related, they are not the same thing,” says Cené. “People can live isolated lives and not feel lonely, and conversely, people who have a lot of relationships can experience loneliness.”
The panel reviewed research on social isolation published up to July 2021 to examine the relationship between social isolation and cardiovascular disease and mental health. They discovered:
- Social isolation and loneliness are common, yet underrecognized effects on cardiovascular health.
- Immobility is associated with an increased risk of premature death from any cause, especially among men.
- Isolation and loneliness are associated with increased symptoms of inflammation, and people who are less socially connected are more likely to experience symptoms of chronic stress.
- In the assessment risk factors for social isolation, the relationship between social isolation and risk factors goes in two directions: depression can lead to social isolation, and social isolation can increase the likelihood of experiencing depression.
- Social isolation during childhood is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases in adulthood, such as obesity, high blood pressure and elevated blood glucose levels.
Social and environmental factors, including transportation, lifestyles, dissatisfaction with family relationships, epidemics and natural disasters, are also factors that affect social cohesion.
“There is strong evidence linking social isolation and loneliness with an increased risk of heart disease and overall mental health; however, the association data with other outcomes, such as heart failure, depression and misunderstanding it’s weak,” said Cené.
Evidence is strong for a link between social isolation, loneliness and death from heart disease and stroke, with a 29% increase in the risk of heart attack and/or heart disease and death, and a 32% increased risk of stroke and death from stroke . “Social isolation and loneliness are also associated with a poor prognosis in people who already have heart disease or stroke,” Cené added.
People with heart disease who were isolated in the population had a two- to three-fold increase in death during the six-year study. Socially isolated adults who have three or fewer intimate partners per month may have a 40% increased risk of recurrent stroke or heart attack. In addition, 5-year heart attack Survival rates were lower (60%) for people in social isolation, and for those with social isolation and clinical depression (62%), compared to those with more social interactions and no depression (79%).
Social isolation and loneliness are also associated with behaviors that negatively impact cardiovascular health, such as lower levels of physical activity, less fruit and vegetable consumption, and more sedentary time. . Several large studies have found significant associations between loneliness and a higher likelihood of smoking.
“There is an urgent need to develop, implement and evaluate programs and strategies to reduce the negative impact of social isolation and loneliness on cardiovascular health, especially for people at risk,” said Cené. “Physicians should ask patients about their social activities and whether they are satisfied with their level of interaction with friends and family. Then they should be ready to refer people who are social or lonely – especially those with a history of heart illness or stroke—to community resources to help them connect with others.”
Certain populations are more likely to experience discrimination and loneliness, and more research is needed to understand how social exclusion affects cardiovascular health in these groups, including children and youth, people from underrepresented ethnic and racial groups, heterosexuals, gays , Bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ), people with physical disabilities, people with hearing or vision disabilities, people living in rural areas and underprivileged communities, people with limited access and internet technology and services, recent immigrants and people in detention.
The review shows research between big big with the aim of reducing social isolation and loneliness. These studies have found that exercise programs and recreational activities in senior centers, as well as interventions that address negative self-esteem and other negative thoughts have shown promise in reducing isolation and loneliness.
The review did not identify any research aimed at reducing social stigma with a specific objective of improvement heart health.
“It is not known whether actually being isolated (social isolation) or feeling isolated (loneliness) is better for cardiovascular health and mental health because few studies have examined both in the same sample,” Cené said. . “More research is needed to examine the associations between social isolation, loneliness, and heart disease heart diseasestroke, dementia and cognitive impairment, and understanding the mechanisms underlying isolation and loneliness that affect the cardiovascular system. mental health reward.”
The scientific group organized a group of volunteers on behalf of the American Heart Association of the American Health Committee about the prophet of care and the council and the council about the effective research. Scientific Committee on Prevention of Infectious Diseases of the Council on Infectious Diseases and Prevention and the Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research; The Scientific Committee on Prevention and Control of the Council on Infectious Diseases and Prevention and the Council on Heart Disease and Stroke; Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology; and the Development Council.
Journal of the American Heart Association (2022). DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.122.026493
American Heart Association
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