New research suggests that being socially engaged and close to others may influence longevity in people with heart disease.
The study showed that people with heart disease, loneliness, social isolation, or those living alone could have years shaved from their lives. The trio of factors can lead this cohort to a higher risk of early death.
Being close to others may aid people with heart disease, and even people without it, by adding value, meaning, and support to live. Social isolation is also associated with a higher risk of mental health issues, which can also make self-care more difficult.
Living alone can also be more stressful. When a person has a partner or a strong social network, they don’t have to be as reliant on themselves. Stress is lowered when you don’t have to do everything on your own – something that appears to be magnified in people with cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease refers to heart attack and stroke.
In recent years, several studies have examined the importance of social connection to various health factors, particularly heart health.
For this latest review, the researchers decided to look at how loneliness, social isolation, and living alone can impact people with heart disease.
Using data from 35 studies done in Europe, North America, and Asia spanning decades, researchers determined that these factors could significantly shorten the lifespan of people with heart disease.
Living with heart disease can be a definite challenge, but it is not necessarily a sentence. Medication and lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management, can all help improve your condition and extend your life.
It appears social engagement can, too.
Of course, it’s not necessarily easy to find somebody to live with you. But looking at communal living options could be a good idea. You could also talk to friends or family about the possibility of a joint-living situation.
You can also ease loneliness and social isolation by looking for ways to be around people. Joining a club or organization, volunteering, going to worship services, or just picking up the phone to call friends may help extend your life.