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Study Reveals Chronic Loneliness Increases Stroke Risk by 25%

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Loneliness and stroke risk

A new study by Harvard University has revealed that feeling lonely for a long time can increase the risk of stroke in older people. Chronic loneliness is a big problem for public health. It can increase the risk of stroke that is a major cause of disability and death in the world. But not many studies have looked how loneliness increases the risk of stroke. This study is one of the first studies that checked if loneliness could increase this risk.  

This study was recently published in eClinicalMedicine. In this study, researchers used data of 12,161 people from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). These people were aged 50. They did not have a history of stroke. Researchers asked them questions about how lonely they felt. They did this twice, once between 2006 and 2008 and again between 2010 and 2012. They used their answers to create scores. These scores showed how lonely each person was. Then researchers divided 8,936 people into four groups based on their loneliness scores. These four groups were consistently low, consistently high, remitting and recent onset.  

When researchers observed the collected data, they found that 1,237 people among them who were only tested loneliness once had strokes between 2006 and 2018. They also found that 601 people among them who were tested for loneliness twice had strokes. Researchers also studied the risk of stroke for each group. They studied some factors such as social isolation and symptoms of depression 

Researchers found a connection between loneliness and a higher risk of stroke. They found this risk was higher for those with chronic loneliness. They found that the risk was 25% higher for those who were lonely as compared to those who were not. They also found that the risk of stroke was 56% higher for those in the consistently high group as compared to those in the consistently low group.  

This study is very important as it clearly shows loneliness can increase the risk of stroke. Healthcare professionals can use repeat assessments of loneliness to identify individuals who are lonely and at a higher risk of stroke. Hence, they can reduce this risk and save many lives. 

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