Saturday, April 5, 2014

Research: Feeling lonely and unloved will kill you twice as fast as being fat will

research on aging
Loneliness and feeling unloved TWICE as likely to kill you as being fat

John Cacioppo, a professor of psychology who has spent 20 years studying the impact of loneliness, tracked the health of more than 2,000 men and women aged 50-plus for six years.

The loneliest men and women were almost twice as likely to die during that period than those who felt the most wanted and needed. Another study found loneliness to be twice as deadly as obesity.

Feeling cut off from others can push blood pressure up into the danger zone for heart attacks and strokes, weaken the immune system and raise the odds of depression, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual conference heard.

It can also disrupt sleep, leaving people feeling lethargic the next day and more likely to rely on sleeping tablets.

Professor Cacioppo, of the University of Chicago, has shown that we don’t sleep less when we are lonely – we just wake up more.

It is thought that if we feel isolated were are extra-alert to threats and so wake up at the slightest noise.

His work also foun that it is not physical isolation in itself but the sense of isolation that is damaging.
In other words, it is possible to feel lonely despite being married or surrounded by people.

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