From everyday joes to experts, everyone talks how bad loneliness is. Even though there have been numerous reports, studies and experiments conducted which talk about the problems which are associated with being lonely, but the latest studies that came to the light shocked everyone. According to the latest studies, being lonely is 20% more deadlier than obesity. Besides, there is also another study which claimed that the negative impact of being isolated is equal to the negative impact of having 15 cigarettes in a single day.
Loneliness and Health Hazards
Everyone needs to understand that being lonely is determined by the person’s subjective quality and not by the quality or quantity of his/her relationship. And this is the reason why even after being surrounded by family members, colleagues/classmates and friends, a person still feels empty, unwanted, disconnected or in one word, lonely.
Currently we are living in a world where with the touch of the button you can get connected to another person; all thanks to smartphones, different social media sites and internet in general. But, it was revealed that even in today’s time about 30 to 40% of total population are in fact lonely, and may or is facing the health problems that comes with being lonely. Next we are going to go through the 7 different health hazards of loneliness that most people do not know about, but all of them are backed up by scientific and trusty reports and studies conducted by reputed experts on the subject.
- Raise of inflammation levels
Stress, worsen conditions of the symptoms of depression and anxiety are some of the commonly known problems associated with being lonely. According to a study it was discovered that being lonely definitely results in high levels of cortisol which will lead to chronic inflammation as well. According to an experiment conducted by the University of Ohio where the signs of inflammation was tracked, it was seen than a lonely person recovering from illness has difficulties because of the high level of cortisol than a person who is not lonely. The short-term healing response to an injury of the people) who are not lonely even under stress was better than a lonely person’s. Here it is important to add that the long term effects of chronic inflammation are diabetes and cancer.
- Lowered immune system
Besides rising the inflammation level, having high level of cortisol is associated with messing up of the immune system of a person as well. In simple words, because of high level of cortisol, the immune system gets a “shock” which lowers the capability of the body to heal quickly and properly. Besides, it also makes the person more venerable to different types of diseases as well. And this is why, people who are lonely faces problems that generally come with have a low immune system.
- Higher blood pressure
According to a study conducted, it was seen that elderly person who is lonely has a higher blood pressure than a person who does not feel the stress and problems associated with feeling/being lonely. The study was conducted on the blood pressure of different elderly people over the course of 5 years. To back up the fact that being lonely can raise the blood pressure level, the people in charge of the study also tracked the elderly person’s level of social connection and happiness as well to get a better result. Here it is important to add that having high blood pressure will lead to many different types of heart health problems, eye problems (retinopathy) and kidney diseases among many other such health problems.
- Risk of heart diseases
According to many different studies it was confirmed that being isolated is associated with 25 to 30% of people having different heart diseases, heart attack and angina. Based on these studies, it was also seen that 32% of lonely people as result have the risk of stroke as well which means being alone may reduce the life expectancy of a person significantly. Here it should be mentioned that the studies were done both of male and female candidates and the result as almost the same.
- Affects the genes
Recently, all the discoveries made by John Cacioppo of University of Chicago shed a new light on the health problems that comes with being lonely. Among many different negative mental and physical effects, it was seen that being lonely are even associated with changed expression of the person’s genes as well which is a ground breaking and concerning discovery. So, it is quite safe to say that being lonely not only comes with the risk of dying, but it may hurt us at the simplest expression of human existence as well.
- Sleeping disorder
Being lonely can be a result of being depressed for many, but in some cases being lonely can lead to depression and many other mental diseases as well. In fact, it was proven that it causes the same effect on the person’s brain as a person in physical pain feels. Among all the mental health problems, being lonely plays a huge role in the quality of sleep. It was seen that people who are lonely do have a lot of problem with sleep which result in them dealing with sleeping disorders including insomnia on a regular basis. Not having a proper night’s rest can affect the mood and productivity of a person. So, it can be said that being lonely and dealing with sleeping disorder as a result will hinder a person ability to carry on with his or her daily routine. Besides, not getting proper sleep plays a huge role in worsening the other different symptoms of depression as well.
- Risk of Dementia
From loss of memory to inability to focus or pay attention to problems with communication to problems with judgment and reasoning to problems with visual perception; there are far many symptoms and health issues that are associated with dementia. Dementia affects a large number of people, and in most cases the cause of the problem is chronic isolation. It has also been seen that chronic loneliness even aid in rapid progression of Alzheimer’s disease as well. Based on a Dutch study published in the year 2012, it was seen that being lonely leads to this health hazards in people especially elderly people. Even though there are some studies which claims that feeling lonely or becoming isolated is a sign/symptoms of dementia and not the cause., but this not properly proven yet. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that chronic isolation and risk of dealing of dementia goes hand in hand.
Besides these, there are many other dangerous health hazards which are related to chronic loneliness which makes it necessary for a person who is dealing with this to look into it properly or get the required help most earnestly.