A recent study led by scientists at the University of California, San Diego points to the fact that socially isolated individuals may be more likely to become critically ill or worse. Dr. Crystal Wiley Cene, a Professor of Clinical Medicine and Chief Administrative Officer for Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion said, “Given the prevalence of social disconnectedness across the U.S., the public health impact is quite significant. Socially isolated individuals are 30% more likely to suffer a stroke or heart attack and death from either.” These findings are taken from data collected around the world over the past 40 years. Risk factors such as widowhood and retirement add to an individual’s decline. Scientists discovered under-recognized factors in cardiovascular and brain disease that worsen with social isolation. “There is strong evidence linking social isolation and loneliness with increased risk of worsened heart and brain health in general; however, the data on the association with certain outcomes, such as heart failure, dementia and cognitive impairment is sparse,” says Cene.
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