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Heart Failure Risk Increased by Social Isolation, Loneliness

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new research published yesterday of JACC: heart failure Studies by Chinese researchers have shown that social isolation and loneliness are associated with an increased incidence of heart failure. But whether you are alone or not, whether you feel lonely is more important in determining your risk.New study helps fill gaps between previous studies showing social isolation and loneliness are developmental risk factors cardiovascular disease and its relationship with heart failure.

Both social isolation and loneliness are classified as forms of social disconnection, but they have different components. Social isolation is objectively defined as being lonely and having few social connections, whereas loneliness is the pain associated with having a lower level of social interaction than one would like. defined by the emotions associated with

The data used for this study were obtained from the UK Biobank of over 400,000 middle-aged and elderly people whose health outcomes were collected longitudinally over a 12-year period. Investigators assessed psychosocial factors such as isolation and loneliness via self-reported questionnaires. According to Jihui Zhang, MD, PhD, senior author of Guangzhou Medical University, China, in previous studies seeking insight into the effects of social isolation and loneliness, the measures used to define the two conditions Comprehensive results were obtained due to different values.

In a new study, researchers found a 15-20% increased risk of heart failure in patients who experienced social isolation or loneliness. Importantly, the study also revealed that social isolation was only a risk factor in the absence of loneliness. , loneliness was a driving force for increased heart failure risk. Both conditions were more common in men than women and were associated with adverse health effects such as smoking and obesity.

“These findings indicate that the subjective effects of loneliness are more important than the objective effects of social isolation,” Zhang said. “These results suggest that social isolation is no longer important in association with heart failure when loneliness is present. Loneliness is common in individuals with hostile or stressful social relationships.” Therefore, loneliness is likely to be a stronger psychological stressor than social isolation.

He further said these new findings added relevance because the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the adverse health effects that have emerged as a result of periods of social isolation and loneliness during the pandemic. .

In an editorial today in the journal reflecting these findings, Sarah J. Goodlin, MD, researcher at Patient-Centered Education and Research and Sheldon Gottlieb, MD, associate professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said: A person’s socioeconomic status can be a factor leading to social isolation and loneliness.

“The relationship between social isolation and loneliness is probably strongest among people at the extremes of social isolation and loneliness, exacerbated by lower socioeconomic status,” they write. As social determinants are increasingly recognized as important components of patient-centred health care, it may be appropriate to incorporate specific interventions into care, such as ‘social prescribing’.”

Additional next steps the researchers plan to include investigating the impact of two factors in determining key health outcomes in vulnerable populations such as people with type 2 diabetes. The team is also advancing our understanding of how the precise mechanisms triggered by social isolation and loneliness affect cardiovascular health and lead to heart failure.

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