Did you know that loneliness can be as bad for your health as smoking?
Having connections with family and friends are good for more than just your social life — strong relationships can protect your heart.
Studies show loneliness can present the same risk of heart disease that smoking does.
Loneliness can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke by 30% according to Dr. Ramesh Mazhari, Director of Interventional Cardiology at George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
The risk of social isolation could be as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being obese.
So based on that, it looks like if you have more friends, you may need less pills.
Hmmm…I’m not sure about all that but there’s still something to be said about the impacts of loneliness.
But I digress.
A recent survey by Psychology Today found 47% of Americans feel lonely.
So is making friends really the “cure”? But how do you do that as an adult?
When we were younger it was so much easier to make friends but as adults; it’s definitely become a lot harder. And add social media to the mix, and it makes offline interaction even more difficult.
And as we’re trying to figure out this friend thing, the number of people who are lonely continues to grow, in fact, it has doubled since the 1980s, according to a report by the former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy.
Loneliness also has biological effects.
It can increase the inflammatory markers. Loneliness can directly impact other habits that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Loneliness and social isolation is associated with poor nutrition, poor sleep, poor cooperation with treatment plans … loneliness can lead to depression which, in and of itself, risks cardiovascular disease.
So let’s combat these statistics with some practical avenues such as,
- Joining a meetup group
- Get involved in your local church or non-profit organization
- Joining a running group
- Joining an exercise fitness group
- Joining a book club
With so many other diseases vying for our body’s attention, don’t let loneliness win.
Until next time, keep…
Loving. Living. Growing.