People who are alone and lonely are at greater risk of heart diseaseBy Carina Storrs, Special to CNN
Updated 0147 GMT (0847 HKT) April 21, 2016
People who are lonely or socially isolated have 29% higher risk of disease, new study finds
Earlier research found being alone could increase the risk of premature death by 50%
People who are alone may be less likely to eat well, exercise and see the doctor
(CNN)Loneliness and social isolation can impact a person’s health, causing problems ranging from high blood pressure and being overweight to cognitive decline and even an increased risk of dying at a young age.
New research has now put a number on how this can affect someone’s risk of heart disease and stroke specifically.
Researchers at the University of York found that people who are isolated — meaning they have few social connections — or feel lonely have a 29% higher risk of having heart disease and 32% higher risk of having a stroke when compared with their peers who were either well connected or at least felt like they were well-connected.
To arrive at these numbers, researchers combined data from 23 studies that altogether included more than 180,000 adults living in high-income countries in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
The studies had assessed the level of isolation and loneliness among the participants and monitored them for between three and 21 years to see whether they developed heart diseases, such as a heart attack, or suffered a stroke.