Loneliness still increases risk even if individual is not socially isolated
By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter
FRIDAY, Feb. 3, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Social isolation and loneliness are independently associated with a higher likelihood of incident heart failure, according to a study published online Feb. 1 in JACC: Heart Failure.
Yannis Yan Liang, M.D., Ph.D., from the Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences in Guangzhou, China, and colleagues examined the association of social isolation, loneliness, and their combination with incident heart failure. The analysis included 464,773 participants in the U.K. Biobank followed for a median 12.3 years.
The researchers found that social isolation (most versus least: adjusted hazard ratio, 1.17) and loneliness (yes versus no: adjusted hazard ratio, 1.19) were significantly associated with an increased risk for incident heart failure. Loneliness modified the association between the risk for heart failure and social isolation. Among those without loneliness, there was a gradient of association seen between social isolation and the risk for incident heart failure, but this finding was not seen among those with loneliness. These associations persisted, regardless of genetic risk for heart failure.
“The relationship with social isolation and loneliness is probably strongest in those persons at extremes of social isolation and loneliness and compounded by low socioeconomic status,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial. “Because social determinants of health are increasingly recognized as important components of patient-centered health care, it may be appropriate to incorporate specific interventions, such as ‘social prescribing’ into care.”
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