Loneliness speeds up ageing and raises heart disease risk
London: The social pain of loneliness produces changes in the body that mimic the aging process and increase the risk of heart disease, a new study has found.
As people get older, their cardiovascular functions diminish - but loneliness appears to accelerate the process, explained researchers at Cornell.
For the study researchers investigated 182 men - split between 18-30-year-olds and 65-80-year-olds, who were asked to perform a speech and complete some mental arithmetic in a laboratory.
The men were given blood pressure readings before, during and after the test, and assessed about their social bonds.
As expected, older adults had higher resting blood pressure, greater cardiovascular stress reactivity and longer cardiovascular recovery times compared with younger adults.
Those men who perceived themselves as lonely had increased measurements across the board - and the effect was even more pronounced in older adults, putting them at the greatest risk.
The recovery time of the lonely older adults, on average, was so delayed, they did not return to baseline levels during the two-hour-long follow-up period.
“The most striking thing we found was that the cardiovascular response of the lonely young adults to the social stressor task looked more like that of the non-lonely older adults,” the Daily Mail lead author Anthony Ong, associate professor of human development in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology, as saying.
While prior studies had found a link between loneliness and stress-induced changes in cardiovascular responses, this is the first to look at young and older adults in the same study and is among a select few to analyse cardiovascular recovery rate.
“I think it’s helpful to distinguish the emotional pangs that are associated with acute loneliness from the more chronic feelings of distress that accompany perceived deficits in the quality of our social relationships,” Ong said.
“Viewed from this perspective, acute loneliness may be seen as adaptive, signaling us to repair social connections. However, it is the persistence of loneliness over time that may set the stage for health problems in later life.
“I think one of the most important and life-affirming messages of this research is the reminder that we all desire and need meaningful social connections,” he added.
The National Institute on Aging and the Bronfenbrenner Center supported the research for Translational Research.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- One year of Modi govt: PM promises to fulfil aspirations
- Hundreds die as heat wave continues in India
- Salman Khan attends sister Arpita's wedding reception in Mandi
- 2G scam: Ex-TRAI chief alleges Manmohan Singh had warned him to cooperate
- Pranab Mukherjee defends Bofors scam, says it was just a media trial
- Zee Media's mega survey on Modi govt
- Zee Media Exclusive: Vidya Balan chats about 'Hamari Adhuri Kahani'
- I eat beef, can somebody stop me?: Kiren Rijiju hits back at Naqvi
- Para athlete Deepa Malik complains of callous service by Air India
- Delhi: Visually impaired boy scores 91.4% in CBSE 12th Board exams
- Smriti Irani visits Amethi, promises to pay insurance money to 25,000 women
- MP: 14-year-old boy works as bonded labour since 2009
- UP: Man chops off wife's nose, hair for dowry
- One year of Modi govt: Amit Shah addresses media
- Zee Media Exclusive: The plight of yoga expert Tejaswi Sharma
- Arpita-Aayush wedding reception: Salman Khan spreads love in Mandi, says `hum aapke hain`
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 (cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in) postponed?
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 to be announced today
- Check mahresult.nic.in for MSBSHSE Maharashtra Class 12 HSC Result 2015
- MSBSHSE Class 12th HSC results 2015 to be declared at 1pm tomorrow
- Maharashtra MSBSHSE HSC Result 2015 on mahresult.nic.in
- Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at one year of Modi govt, wishes 'happy birthday' to 'suit-boot ki sarkar'
- Bharatiya Janata Party lacks majority for Ram Temple, Article 370: Amit Shah
- I was misquoted, says Kiren Rijiju on 'beef' remark
- First look: Salman Khan steals thunder in `Bajrangi Bhaijaan`
- CBSE 10th result to be declared tomorrow
- mahresult.nic.in updated with MSBSHSE Maharashtra HSC Class XII Result 2015
- Check mahresult.nic.in for Maharashtra HSC Result 2015 to be announced at 1 pm on May 27
- Manmohan Singh defends himself on 2G charge, slams Modi govt for 'carbon copy' schemes
- Sonia Gandhi 'unconstitutional authority' during UPA: PM Narendra Modi