Loneliness is just as bad for your health as smoking or being overweight. This is the result of an American study.
Feeling lonely heightens your blood pressure, stress level and chance for getting depressed. The researchers announced these results during the conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
One of the researchers, professor John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago says that loneliness causes an increase in the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This causes higher blood pressure levels, which can lead to strokes and heart disease. A high cortisol level also has a negative influence on the immunesystem.
People who felt the most lonely had a blood pressure which was 30 points higher than people who had an active and busy social life.
More and more people are getting socially isolated according to Cacioppo. Not only because of the aging population, but also because people marry later and have less children. He thinks it is important for people to have a few good friends instead of having a lot of vague acquaintances.
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