STUDY: Loneliness Could Actually Kill You

Happy Old Couple

Photo: Dr. Hemmert/Flickr

Loneliness may shorten one’s lifespan says a pair of new studies.The two studies found that older people living alone had a significant risk of heart problems and shorter lifespans than those who lived with another or lived communally.

For the first study, researchers at Harvard Medical School tracked 45,000 people from 45 and up with heart disease or a risk of developing it.

The study found that those living alone were more likely to die from heart attacks, strokes and other similar conditions, reported CNN, over the four-year study than those who lived with others.

“Living alone may be a risk factor for a bad outcome,” said study author Deepak Bhatt, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said HealthDay.

The second study looked at feelings of loneliness, rather than simply living alone.

Read more on GlobalPost: Old people smell exists, and it’s nicer than we think, study suggests

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) looked at people 60 and older over a six-year period.

According to Time, they found that men and women were 45 per cent more likely to die during the study if they felt lonely or isolated – not necessarily living alone.

Indeed, two thirds of those reporting loneliness were living with a partner.

The researchers also found that those who suffered from loneliness were in poorer health and had trouble doing everyday tasks.

“I’m hoping this paper allows people to look critically at themselves and how they treat elders around them,” said study author Carla Perissinotto of UCSF, reported the San Francisco Chronicle.

“This country is not great at caring for its elderly. But certainly that is one of the messages, to look out for the people around you, because sooner or later that’s going to be you.”

Both studies were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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