Thomas Markle makes first public appearance since stroke
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That is according to the American Heart Association (AHA) which has found social isolation and loneliness could increase the risk of both a heart attack and a stroke by 30 percent.
Publishing their findings in the Journal of the American Heart Association, they found these two factors could have a significant impact.
Chair of the writing committee, which led the research, Crystal Wiley Cene said in a statement: “Over four decades of research has clearly demonstrated that social isolation and loneliness are both associated with adverse health outcomes.
“Given the prevalence of social disconnectedness across the U.S., the public health impact is quite significant.”
Over the course of the study, it was observed that social isolation and loneliness tended to increase with age with factors such as losing a loved one and retirement both playing key roles in the level of isolation felt.
However, while older adults tended to face an increased risk of loneliness, younger generations weren’t immune.
A survey from Harvard University found members of Generation Z, between the ages of 18 and 22, were considered to be the loneliest generation.
This increase in loneliness was attributed to less engagement in meaningful social activities and increased social media use.
What is the difference between social isolation and loneliness?
Loneliness is defined as someone feeling like they are alone and having less connection with others than they desire.
Meanwhile, social isolation was defined as having infrequent in-person contact with people for social relationships, such as family, friends, or members of a community.
Cene added: “Although social isolation and feeling lonely are related, they are not the same thing.
“Individuals can lead a relatively isolated life and not feel lonely, and conversely, people with many social contacts may still experience loneliness.”
What were the recommendations made by the research?
The main recommendations made by the research were that social isolation and loneliness should be taken more seriously as risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
Cene said: “There is an urgent need to develop, implement and evaluate programmes and strategies to reduce the negative effects of social isolation and loneliness on cardiovascular and brain health, particularly for at-risk populations.”
Furthermore, it was added that clinicians should “ask patients about the frequency of their social activity and whether they are satisfied with their level of interactions with friends and family”.
Alongside social isolation and loneliness, there are other risk factors for strokes and heart attacks.
Chief among these are overall physical health factors such as the nature of someone’s diet, whether or not it is balanced, and how much physical activity they engage in.
In the UK, the NHS recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity every week.
However, the more physical activity undertaken, the greater the improvement in overall physical health.
As well as a balanced diet and physical activity, cutting out poor lifestyle habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are also suggested as ways people can reduce their risk.
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