A new study done on heart patients highlighted that cardiac patients who feel more loneliness are at higher risk of death due to heart diseases. Men who are heart patients and in loneliness, are two times more prone to death due to heart diseases compared to men who aren’t lonely. In the case of women, those who feel more loneliness are three times more prone to risk of death compared to women who don’t.
The study published in the journal Heart, also added that loneliness should be on the priority list and must be regarded as a legitimate health risk in people who already have some kind of serious illness. Previous research suggests that deaths due to coronary artery related cardiac diseases can be associated with loneliness and poor social support. But it is still not clear whether loneliness can influence death risk in heart patients due to other types of cardiac diseases, and it is also not clear if living alone can be as influential as feeling lonely.
The researchers looked at the data of heart patients, suffering from ischaemic (coronary) heart disease, abnormal heart rhythm, heart failure, and valve disease, over the course of 2013-14. These patients were mostly men with an average age of 66. On discharge, 13,443 (53 percent of total) completed survey on physical health, psychological well being and quality of life, their levels of anxiety and depression (HADS).
National data were used to check which of the patients lived alone and which ones lived with other people, those who felt lonely were three times more likely to be anxious and depressed, and those who didn’t feel any kind of loneliness reported a better quality of life. One year later researchers took to national registry to find out about cardiac health of those heart patients, as well as to check about the mortality rate of these patients.
Considering potentially influential factors, including health behaviours, lonely women were nearly three times more prone to death due to cardiac diseases. Similarly, lonely men were two times more prone to death due to the same.
Researchers said that the effects of living alone in heart patients were different in men and women, men had 39 percent higher risks of poor cardiac health than women because women have a larger social circle. Researchers said that the significant differences in risk between those who felt lonely and those who didn’t, suggest that health-related behaviours and underlying conditions can’t fully explain the associations found.