Loneliness: Here's how it takes a toll on your health, cuts your lifespan short .

Internal medicine



Famous Japanese author Haruki Murakami defines loneliness as an “acid that eats away at you.” While literary geniuses have romanticised and harped on the poignant pain that loneliness comes with, scientific studies claim that it can be lethal. There are reams of research revealing that loneliness can impact your health negatively, in more ways than one, irrespective of age, gender and culture. Two recent studied published online in the Archives of Internal Medicine, living a lonely life or feeling alone makes you more vulnerable to disability and even early death. According to one of those two studies, the feeling of loneliness or isolation matters more than living alone. Here, we have rummaged through studies all over the world and found how seriously this feeling impacts your health and can even shorten your lifespan.

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Researchers from the York University have recently found that there was a 29 per cent higher chance of heart disease among people who were lonely. The study also revealed that study participants suffering from loneliness were 32 per cent more vulnerable to stroke. However, it couldn’t be found out exactly how and why loneliness affects our heart. Social associations and a sense of belonging are the primordial necessities of human beings. When it is not met, stress levels go up, taking your blood pressure levels up. High BP takes a toll on your heart for sure.


Scientific evidences suggest that loneliness can be a major risk factor behind depression. Some population-based studies conducted among middle aged and older adults found that people suffering from loneliness had more symptoms of depression than those who didn’t. The link between depression and loneliness is consistent, find researchers. Depression, on the other hand, comes with its own set of health challenges and can make one suicidal too.


People who feel lonely are less likely to sleep well. Their snooze time and quality is highly compromised. Lack of quality sleep, increases your risk of fatal diseases like stroke and heart attack. It also revs up your chance of getting diabetes, another disease, associated with co-morbidity.


Do you pick that glass of whisky quite often? This may be your way of coping with loneliness. The feeling of isolation may make you develop unhealthy habits like heavy drinking, excessive smoking, binge eating, so an and so forth. All of these bring about potential health hazards associated with early death.


Do you know that you are more vulnerable to any viral disease if you feel socially isolated? A 2007 study found when you feel lonely, your immune cells focus more on killing bacteria, not viruses.


One way of beating loneliness is working for a greater social cause. An act of kindness not only amps up your satisfaction quotient and makes you feel happy, it helps you cement your bonding with people. Instead of trying to connect with people through social media, catch up with an old-time friend you haven’t connected with, for long. This is a more meaningful and authentic connection. Pursue a passion and practise it when you are alone. You’ll surely love the time that you spend with yourself and your hobby.

Published : January 13, 2020 2:48 pm | Updated:January 13, 2020 2:49 pm