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Category: Blood and Blood Diseases
Older adults suffering from chronic feelings of loneliness may be at an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, a new study has found.
A team of researchers from the University of Chicago monitored a group of 229 people aged 50 to 68 of varying ethnicities. Study participants were asked a series of detailed questions regarding their personal connections and their level of companionship and had their blood pressure tested.
After five years of follow-up, the research team identified a clear connection between feelings of loneliness at the beginning of the study and rising blood pressure over that period, Newswise reports. Specifically, the loneliest individuals saw their blood pressure go up by an average of 14.4 mm compared to those who reported being socially content.
"We hypothesize that threats to one's sense of safety and security with others are toxic components of loneliness, and that hyper-vigilance for social threat may contribute to alterations in physiological functioning, including elevated blood pressure," said lead investigator Louise Hawkley.
Previous studies have indicated that loneliness is linked to an elevated risk of cancer, stroke and other cardiovascular events, according to The Med Guru.
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