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Social isolation may up heart attack risk: 4 ways to overcome your loneliness

Loneliness is just as lethal as smoking 15 cigarettes per day.

Social isolation can have a great impact on your heart health and increase your death risk. Here's how to beat the feeling of loneliness.

People are locked inside their houses to stay safe from the COVID-19 pandemic, but social isolation may increase their risk of other health issues. A new study has revealed that people who are socially isolated are at greater risk of facing cardiovascular events, such as a heart attack or stroke.

The study also found that those who are socially isolated are twice more likely to die from any cause than those who were socially integrated.

In addition to maintaing a healthy blood pressure, acceptable cholesterol levels, and normal weight, having strong social relationships is of high importance for your heart health the study pointed out.

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For the study, the researchers from University Hospital in Essen, Germany, analysed data from 4,316 individuals (average age 59.1 years). None of participants had no known cardiovascular disease at the start of the research. They were followed for an average of 13 years.

During the 13.4 years of follow-up, the researchers saw 339 cardiovascular events such as heart attacks or strokes and 530 deaths among the study participants.

After adjusting for other possible cardiovascular risk factors, the researchers found that a lack of social integration increases the future risk of cardiovascular events by 44 per cent. Social isolation also increases the risk of death from all causes by 47 per cent.

A lack of financial support was also found to be associated with a 30 per cent increased risk of cardiovascular events.

To avoid the COVID-19 infection, people are strictly recommended to practise social distancing. The study suggests finding effective ways of tackling the problems associated with social isolation to improve our overall health and longevity.

How to beat the feeling of isolation

"Loneliness becomes an acid that eats away at you" describes famous Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. Researchers also warn that loneliness is just as lethal as smoking 15 cigarettes per day. One research published in the journal Thorax also linked social isolation to a heightened risk of hospital admission for respiratory disease among older adults. Want to overcome your loneliness? Try these things -

Own a pet

Besides providing companionship, pets can help you overcome loneliness, encourage you to stay active, and relieve tension. Several studies have also revealed that having a dog can boost your heart health, lower your risk of stroke, heart disease and premature death.

Involve in social causes

An act of kindness can not only increase your satisfaction quotient but strengthen your bonding with people and make you feel happy.

Catch up with old-time friend

Try to catch up with an old-time friend you haven't connected with, for long. Since due to the lockdown, it may not be possible to see him or her personally, you can make good use of the technology. Trying to connect with him/her through video calls, text messages or social media. Plan a get-together after the lockdown or when the pandemic ends.

Pursue a passion

Everyone has a passion and research shows that pursuing it makes people happier. So, if there is anything that you enjoy doing it or sets your soul on fire, just follow your heart. Try to connect with people who share your passion too. Sharing your passion with others will open you up to more friendship as well enhance your talents.

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