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Loneliness and Blood Pressure

Zoomer Report2020-3-3By: Libby Znaimer

Loneliness really can break your heart. Researchers at the University of Chicago looked at people aged 50 to 68 and found that over a five-year period the loneliest individuals saw their systolic blood pressure rise enough to give them hypertension.

The study authors say the lonelier you are, the bigger the effect. While loneliness has been linked to other factors that could cause an increase in blood pressure, such as stress and depression, those factors could not account for the rise observed in the study. It seems to be that there’s something unique about loneliness.

For the purposes of the study, loneliness was defined as “perceived social isolation. In other words not everybody feels isolated even if they’re alone, and some people have a lot of connections, and still feel lonely.

Over the course of the five-year study, during which blood pressure was measured four times, the degree to which individuals perceived themselves as lonely was directly linked to how much their blood pressure increased.

Bottom line make a point of keeping up with your relationships and visiting older Zoomers who may be housebound.


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