03 Feb Social isolation and Loneliness Independently Increase Cardiovascular Risk in Women
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Natalie Golaszewski, PhD
Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Social isolation and loneliness are growing public health concerns as they are associated with health conditions that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease including obesity, smoking, physical inactivity, poor diet, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: The findings of the prospective study reveal that social isolation and loneliness independently increased cardiovascular disease risk by 8% and 5% respectively among older women. If women experienced high levels of both, their risk rose 13% to 27% compared to women who reported low levels of social isolation and low levels of loneliness.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Social isolation and loneliness, while related to one another, are distinct social factors and our study showed that both factors are associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease among older women. The overall CVD risk was highest for women who had high social isolation and high loneliness.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: It is important to further understand the acute and long-term effects of social isolation and loneliness on cardiovascular health and overall well-being. Causal information is also needed to confirm conclusions from our study that by reducing social isolation and loneliness we can reduce cardiovascular disease. This could take the form of randomized clinical trials, or causal evaluations of existing programs designed to reduce social isolation and loneliness.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? Any disclosures?
Response: Measures of social isolation and loneliness — even with brief questions as was done in our study — should be incorporated into standard care. We monitor our patients’ blood pressure, weight and temperature, and it might also be beneficial to capture the social needs that individuals may be lacking to better understand cardiovascular risk and develop solutions.
I do not have any disclosures.
Golaszewski NM, LaCroix AZ, Godino JG, et al. Evaluation of Social Isolation, Loneliness, and Cardiovascular Disease Among Older Women in the US. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(2):e2146461. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.46461
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