This Month In Health
  • Chew on This
    You know the rules to brush twice a day and floss regularly to take care of your teeth, but are you doing that? Or do you give yourself a break now and again? Either way, there are probably some other habits you have that are harming your pearly whites each and every day. Read >>
  • Why Colon Cancer?
    Like other cancers, colon cancer begins when the DNA in healthy cells mutate, forming damaged, cancerous cells that grow, spread, and damage surrounding healthy tissue. Why the DNA in colon cells mutate is largely unknown, but there are things that may increase your likelihood of developing colon cancer. Read >>
  • All by Yourself
    In a time when we’re more connected than ever through social media, more people claim they feel isolated and lonely than ever before. Keep reading to find out what loneliness can do to your health. Read >>
  • Sharp as a Tack
    A scary reality, dementia is feared by aging adults. Want to know if you’re at an increased risk for developing dementia? Here are a few of the top risk factors. Read >>
Health and Fitness News

All by Yourself

Loneliness affects your health. Here’s how.

In a time when we’re more connected than ever through social media, more people claim they feel isolated and lonely than ever before. You may live alone, lack friends and family, or feel disconnected from those they live with. Any of these can cause feelings of loneliness. And while anyone at any age can feel lonely, young adults and the elderly are most at risk.

Because we were created as social creatures, we need meaningful connection and interaction. When that need isn’t met, there are repercussions, both mental and physical. Keep reading to find out eight things loneliness can do to your health.

1: Heart Disease

Across the globe, heart disease is the leading cause of death. But did you know that loneliness can be a major risk factor for the condition? Studies show people who are lonely are more likely to have high cholesterol and high blood pressure, both risk factors for heart disease. Additionally, loneliness often leads to unhealthy lifestyle habits, which contribute to an unhealthy heart and even premature death. In fact, someone who’s lonely is twice as likely to die of cardiovascular disease. If you already have a heart problem, loneliness can make it worse.

2: Lowered Immunity

Feeling isolated compromises your immune system. When this happens, you’re more likely to be sick more often. What causes this? An increased levels of stress hormones and trouble sleeping, both which increase inflammation in the body and hinder your immune system from fighting off illness.

3: Alzheimer’s Disease

Negative emotions affect your brain in many ways. While loneliness isn’t a direct cause of brain diseases, chronic loneliness may make you twice as susceptible to cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

4: Anxiety and Depression

It’s no surprise that lonely people are more anxious and depressed. Without meaningful relationships and interactions, you may feel stressed, worried, and fearful or you may feel sad, hopeless, and lack motivation. To make matters worse, loneliness, anxiety, and depression often feed off of each other. If you feel one of these problems creeping up on you, you’ll likely experience the others in an ongoing, negative cycle.

5: Smoking

Negative emotions often lead people to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms such as smoking. While smoking may help you relax for a moment, cigarettes are full of toxins that poison every part of your body. One of the worst things you can do for your health, smoking increases your risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and diabetes.

6: Obesity

Lonely people often stop taking care of their bodies. Because of this, people who are lonely have a greater chance of being overweight. When extra piles pound on, you become at increased risk for a host of negative health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and joint problems. As these problems pile on, you feel more lonely and the cycle continues.

7: Drinking and Drugs

Without the love and support of family and friends, people are more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs. They may temporarily mask the pain, but alcohol and drug addiction harm your health, damages relationships you have, and can lead to financial and employment problems.

8: Sleep

Lonely people have more sleep problems and sleep less than non-lonely people. As a result, they’re more likely to feel daytime sleepiness and have trouble concentrating. Sleep may be elusive for lonely people because they lack stimulation and don’t feel as tired when they go to bed. Or, they may have trouble sleeping because they don’t feel safe.