Saturday, April 23, 2016

Can Loneliness lead to Heart Disease?

The severity of mental illnesses are often ignored and overlooked. Scientists have found that poor social relationships lead to cardiovascular disease and an increased risk of stroke. There is a relationship between “mental health and aspects of physical health, from immune functioning to cognitive decline”. More specifically, social isolation has been proven to cause brain stressors, anxiety and further chronic subclinical diseases. Loneliness is described as a “survival impulse” similar to hunger, our body does not perform appropriately under those conditions. Researchers have revealed that loneliness can cause humans to fail at the cellular level. Such emotions can increase activities in genes that produce inflammation and apoptosis in cells that fight immunity. Risk factors of loneliness such as gender disparity and or socioeconomic position are often subconscious “yet hold the key to identifying people who may benefit from intervention”. Individuals often don’t realize the root of their mental illness- until they begin to question internalized feelings about their identity.

A healthy lifestyle is multidimensional and requires various forms of intervention when it is not maintained. Educational programs, social activities, and cognitive-behavioral therapy are resources provided to people that are socially isolated. This flow chart describes how social connections might impact your heart health and stroke risk. There are direct and indirect pathways that inform us of how social connections influence disease morbidity and mortality.

A systematic analysis was created to analyze a person’s level of loneliness and their heart rate. Results indicate that "we cannot infer causality from our findings, nor can we exclude confounding by unmeasured common causes, or reverse causation if deficiencies in social relationships are the result of subclinical disease."

By Donisha White


1 comment:

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