Feeling extreme loneliness on a long-term basis can be worse than obesity in terms of increasing the potentially lethal health risks that lead to premature death, scientists said. Chronic loneliness has been shown to increase the chances of an early grave by 14 per cent, which is as bad as being overweight and almost as bad as poverty in undermining a person’s long-term wellbeing, a study has found.
Natural Health News Extreme loneliness can increase an older persons chances of premature death almost as much as if they were living in extreme poverty, according to new research
The researchers from the University of Chicago looked at dramatic differences in the rate of decline in physical and mental health as people age. They have examined the role of satisfying relationships on older people to develop their resilience, the ability to bounce back after adversity and grow from stresses in life.
They found that loneliness increased the chances of premature death by 14%. In contrast the impact of disadvantaged socioeconomic status, raised the risk by 19%.
Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual meeting in Chicago, lead researcher John Cacioppo, a Tiffany & Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology at the University, noted also that loneliness has twice the impact on early death as does obesity.
One possible explanation for its link with ill-health is that loneliness seems to make people sleep less deeply. Lonely people tend to suffer from brief “microawakenings” in the night, which may reflect a nervousness about being alone at night. As people age and lose mobility, they are at an increased risk of chronic loneliness, which would threaten the person’s well-being almost immediately, and would increase their odds for depression, compromised immunity, and fatigue due to poorer quality sleep — all of which could hasten their ageing. Take time to enjoy yourself and share good times with family and friends. Non-lonely people enjoy themselves with other people.