Beware Lonely Hearts!!!
As the saying goes “Man is a social animal”, human being can’t live without society and association. Blame being sick of peoples’ overexposed lives on social media. With the advanced and fast life, people tend to be away from such association and ends up being alone.
This is alarming if the findings are to be believed. Finding from
23 studies pooled together in the cardiology journal Heart may make you rethink your homebody ways.
The scientists found that social isolation and loneliness are tied to an increased risk for heart attack, angina, or death from heart disease by 29 percent, and risk for stroke by 32 percent for both men and women.
Data from 181,006 participants over 18 years old were included in the observational studies. Eighteen papers looked at social isolation, three measured loneliness, and two included both factors. Questionnaires were used to determine subjects’ levels of loneliness and social isolation, then compared with medical records indicating stroke and coronary events.
Findings published this week in the journal Heart demonstrate that loneliness and isolation are as serious a risk factor for stroke and heart disease as anxiety and a stressful job. Researchers have uncovered a wealth of information on how those, and other common factors, directly impact health and longevity.
Early research has provided a basic framework to explain how a person’s social relationships can impact their health. The factors according to earlier research are Behavioral, Psychological and Physiological.
The existing research, which shows that isolation can lead to premature death, has trawled through previous studies and collated relevant data, which they combined into one large sample. In total, the team unearthed data for 181,000 individuals. This included 4,628 coronary heart disease events and 3,002 strokes.
Although loneliness is known to play a significant role in premature mortality, the results highlighted a surprisingly pronounced effect. Loneliness and social isolation was associated with a 29% increase in coronary heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke.
On the other hand a study published last year by University of Chicago researchers said that loneliness may cause humans to fall apart at even the cellular level. They wrote that the emotion appears to increase activities in genes that produce inflammation and those that fight disease.
More research is, of course, necessary, but against this rather stark backdrop, loneliness is certainly a facet of the human experience that deserves further investigation, to find out an amicable solution.
The Heart article, which is published alongside an editorial, written by Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad and Dr. Timothy Smith of Brigham Young University. They argue that loneliness should become part of medical training and enter policy with official guidelines and the introduction of risk assessments for individuals who might be in the most isolated situations.
The editorial pays particular attention to the role of technology in the modern world, they say: “With such rapid changes in the way people are interacting socially, empirical research is needed to address several important questions. Does interacting socially via technology reduce or replace face-to-face social interaction and/or alter social skills? Given projected increases in levels of social isolation and loneliness in the world, medical science needs to squarely address the ramifications for physical health”.
Medical professionals have already taken a justifiably strong stance on other health factors such as healthy eating, smoking and alcohol consumption; perhaps it is time for the health care industry to directly address the prevention of loneliness.
The findings have also opened a debate about how society and the medical community should respond. The true impact of loneliness is only beginning to be uncovered.
In Indian context we have long backed solved this problem of loneliness with festivals round the year at regular interval with the collective efforts of each and every individual in the society and have utilized the loneliness and solitude for higher upliftment towards spiritual advancement. I believe this can be one of the solutions to this deadly finding.
One more thing, we are so busy these days, that we don’t have time for our interests and ourselves, so if we can concentrate on ourselves the world will be different and we can add more value to others lives. So summing up with the quote of Swami Vivekananda “Talk to yourself once in a day, otherwise you will miss meeting an excellent person in the world”.