23 March 2010

Loneliness boosts blood pressure

Loneliness and lack of connection with others can increase the risk of high blood pressure in people aged 50 and older, says a new study.

Loneliness and lack of connection with others can increase the risk of high blood pressure in people age 50 and older, says a new study.

It included 229 people, aged 50-68, who answered questions about loneliness and their connections to others. Over four years, the loneliest participants' blood pressure increased 14.4 millimeters of mercury more than those who were most socially satisfied, United Press International reported.

The researchers also looked at the effects of depression and stress, but found they didn't fully explain the increase in blood pressure among the lonely people.

"Loneliness behaved as though it is a unique health-risk factor in its own right," study author Louise Hawkley, of the University of Chicago, and colleagues wrote in the study, published in the journal Psychology and Aging. - (HealthDay News, March 2010)


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Dr Jacomien de Villiers qualified as a specialist physician at the University of Pretoria in 1995. She worked at various clinics at the Department of Internal Medicine, Steve Biko Hospital, these include General Internal Medicine, Hypertension, Diabetes and Cardiology. She has run a private practice since 2001, as well as a consultant post at the Endocrine Clinic of Steve Biko Hospital.

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