Loneliness Affects Aging

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How Loneliness Affects The Aging Process The majority of us have been affected by loneliness at one point or another – and while it was probably only a temporary loneliness, you probably remember how you felt at the time. You craved interaction with friends after moving to a new area, losing your loved one, going through a breakup or even after spending a week in bed with the flu. It's terrible – the feeling that loneliness brings. Our brains have evolved to depend on our social interactions, we have a drive to be around others and as social creatures it turns out that being lonely could be affecting our aging process. It can have an impact on your overall wellbeing. We're facing an epidemic of loneliness and millions of people are suffering…show more content…
It is just as harmful as smoking and may be even more harmful than obesity. According to a study from the American Medical Association, lonely people were at greater risk of those who were not lonely (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1188041). The study followed 45,000 participants for four years. All of them had existing heart problems or the risk factors for heart disease. Of those participants over 4,000 of deaths, as well as almost 3,000 deaths due to cardiovascual isses. Of those, loneliness was a factor. Additionally, researchers found that there were adverse conditions to loneliness. Lonely seniors over 60 were found to have experienced more decline functionally, including bathing, dressing, walking, and taking the stairs. Lonely seniors are also more likely to develop a variety of medical conditions, such as heart problems, diabetes, and hypertension. Seniors who are isolated are almost 30% more likely develop depression and more likely to die…show more content…
The risk rises with age, but a 30 point increase in blood pressure is not something that should be ignored. While we typically fight high blood pressure with weight loss and exercise our social life, or lack thereof, could be defeating the purpose. In truth, as fit as you are and as well as you eat, you are just as at risk of high blood pressure as your friends who do none of those things, but seek out human interaction wherever possible. Additionally, loneliness impacts your immune system. A joint study from the University of Chicago and the University of California, Davis have found that loneliness actually leads to abnormalities in the white blood cells, monocytes, crucial for fighting infection (http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/Loneliness-Is-a-Molecule-UCLA-8214). Being isolated socially leaves these cells immature, so instead of fighting infections these white blood cells reduce your immunity. Loneliness Can Be

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