According to a new stroke.
The study was conducted on 181,000 people for between three and 21 years. Longitudinal studies can be good at establishing relationships, as the same people are observed over a long time period.
It is difficult to define loneliness but, according to scientists, it is a subjective negative feeling associated with someone’s perception that their relationships with others are deficient.
The 23 studies that the researchers analyzed were a mix of research that measured loneliness (three studies), social isolation (18 studies) and a mix of the two (two studies).
Although social isolation and loneliness both are different. Loneliness is usually defined as feeling unhappy about a situation – a lack of social relationships, or shortcomings in social relationships, while social isolation is the situation itself – having few social contacts.
During the study, scientists recognized that lonely and isolated people are more likely to smoke and be physically inactive. They found that such people more likely to have increased risk of heart problems.
Christopher Allen, a Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Social isolation is a serious issue that affects many thousands of people across the UK. We know that loneliness, and having few social contacts, can lead to poor lifestyle habits such as smoking, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.”
“Although this observational study suggests a physiological link between loneliness and heart health problems, this is not a clear link, and much more research is needed to understand if there truly is a relationship between the two.”
The research suggests an association between social isolation and increased risk of dying, and the BHF continues to fund research exploring how our mental health affect our risk of developing heart problems.