Loneliness linked to heart disease

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

Being the life and soul of the party could be good for the heart, according to a study linking loneliness with furred-up arteries.

Being the life and soul of the party could be good for the heart, according to a study linking loneliness with furred-up arteries.

Researchers found that men who were socially isolated had raised levels of a blood chemical linked to heart disease.

The cell signalling protein - interleukin-6 (IL-6) - promotes the inflammation that makes artery walls harden. This can lead to heart attacks and strokes, which kill 184,000 people each year in the UK.

Scientists in the US studied 3,267 men for the Framingham Heart Study. The men were asked questions about their social lives, and those who were more isolated were more likely to have higher levels of IL-6.

"This was a statistically significant difference," said research leader Dr Eric Loucks, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. "It seems to be good for health to have close friends and family, to be connected to community groups or religious organisations, and to have a close partner."

The researchers said social isolation in men may influence stress levels and health behaviour, such as smoking and exercise.

The same link was not found for women.

Comments