How can an abstract concept like loneliness affect our mental and physical well-being? Seems quite abstract, but it's true. And loneliness isn't affecting just older people - though this is a serious problem in the modern society - but younger people, as well. The impact of not having enough interactions could be as damaging as smoking dozens of cigarettes per day.
Just a few months ago, UK researchers have carried out a new study and found out that 9 million UK citizens are suffering from loneliness. That's, we’ll reiterate, in the UK alone.
Here’s what they found out. First of all, not socializing enough often leads to depression, and, in older age, depression may be a predictor of suicide.
Next, lack of interaction may mean development of dementia later in life - over 60% of lonely people are more likely to be prone do dementia and cognitive decline in general.
Physical health suffers as well. High blood pressure, being overweight, increases chances of mortality (by 26%!).
Loneliness is damaging for people living with serious illnesses like diabetes. Research has shown that people living an isolated life are more likely to go to a doctor’s to initiate human contact and put on medication. This affects the whole healthcare system as a whole, which is already under the strain.
Not having enough social interactions, not being a somewhat active member of the society, or being cut off from the society is as damaging for our physical health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day.
In the closing remarks of their study, the UK researchers who carried out the survey recommend that all members of the society fight this problem. From every given individual to family to employer to local community to government level, everyone has to take the problem seriously and act. Sounds obvious, but only by working together we can make a difference.
So make that call, schedule that meeting, have that movie date with a friend. Make a difference!
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The BetterMe Team wants you and those close to you to live a healthy, happy life! Your health is a valuable thing; look after your body and your mind so that you can live your life to the fullest – Remember you only get one!
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