17 August 2010

Lonely people: Under More Pressure Have Higher Blood Pressure

*** Be aware of how loneliness can impact your daily health.

From Denny: The "geniuses" in the medical community have finally figured out the obvious - that loneliness and social isolation can cause more than severe tearing on the psyche. It also affects blood pressure.

The study was done at the University of Chicago. Researchers surveyed 229 people ages 50 to 68. These respondents were part of the Chicago Health, Aging and Social Relations Study. This was a multi-year study cutting across racial and ethnic boundaries as well as gender to include white, black and Latino men and women.

Those surveyed were asked to rate their feelings about various statements, for example:

"I lack companionship"
"I feel in tune with the people around me"
"My social relationships are superficial"

The study also recorded other details like smoking status, physical activity levels, body mass index and cardiovascular health to see how it might impact the survey results. Those surveyed were monitored for five years.

What did researchers discover about the link of loneliness to higher blood pressure? They found out that those who ranked the highest for feeling the most lonely had blood pressure levels as much as 14.4 points higher than those surveyed who felt least lonely.

Another startling fact of concern is that those surveyed who had the higher levels of loneliness when they started the study found their systolic blood pressure increased over the years of the study.

Need a definition of what is systolic blood pressure? Check out what eMedTV says: "Systolic blood pressure is the amount of pressure that blood exerts on vessels while the heart is beating. In a blood pressure reading (such as 120/80), it is the number on the top. If the top and bottom blood pressures are both too high, a person is said to have high blood pressure. If only the top number is higher than 140, the person has a condition called isolated systolic hypertension."

Researchers also found that even when they factored in other details like age, race, ethnicity, gender, cardiovascular risk factors and depression - their findings held true. Lonely people find their blood pressure higher than others feeling less lonely.

The study appeared in the journal Psychology and Aging.

This is where having a pet and/or a regular social routine is helpful to manage stress. Be sure to see your doctor and a nutritionist if you are suffering feelings of loneliness and/or depression.

Many times, depression and low feelings are a result of an improper diet. Many people with active nervous systems - like creative people - need higher levels of B vitamins. It is often that simple to start feeling better and more sociable.

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