It might make the most sense for some people’s lifestyles to live alone, but it’s actually a problem. According to The Huffington Post, a new study from Brigham Young University states that loneliness can affect longevity in much the same ways as obesity.
CBS News reports that more people than ever are living alone now. The research, which analyzed data from various health studies on isolation and loneliness stated that there’s an increased risk for an early death in both young and old populations. Through their analysis, they looked at 3 million participants over the course of 35 years.
The study showed that lack of social connections have a negative effect on a person’s well-being. Researchers found that people who reported loneliness had a 26 percent increased risk of death. For people who said they were socially isolated, the risk increases 29 percent. And people who lived alone experience a 32 percent increased risk.
When you look around now, obesity is a national health concern, but three decades ago, research on the subject was just beginning. The researchers say that now studies on loneliness are in that early research phase, but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest it will demand greater national attention in the future and that a possible loneliness epidemic is on the horizon.
Other studies have shown that living alone can raise your levels of the stress hormone, which leads to an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. Other studies have stated that the effect of loneliness is as strongly related to longevity as living in poverty or drinking and smoking excessively.
So what’s their solution? The study’s lead author, Julianne Holt-Lunstad stated, “We need to start taking our social relationships more seriously.” Sounds like you should head out on a nice long cruise this summer. It’s for your health.