Loneliness may contribute to premature death, scientists warn. In a new study, they remind us why it is so important to visit our loved ones. They note that people living alone may be more likely to develop unhealthy behaviors.
The new study was published Friday in the journal BMC Medicine. Scientists from the University of Glasgow have estimated that people who live alone and are not visited by loved ones are at greater risk of premature death. They also noticed that these people can benefit from even one visit from family or friends a month.
Loneliness and premature death
The researchers used the UK Biobank database, relying on information about over 458,000. Britons with an average age of 57 and following their fate for 12 and a half years. They noted that any signs of isolation, whether living alone, feeling lonely often, or rarely having visits from friends or family, were associated with a higher risk of early death.
People who lived alone and their relatives never visited them were 39 percent more likely to die prematurely than people visited on a daily basis. At the same time, activities undertaken in groups of people who were not their close relatives did not reduce this risk. According to researchers, this shows how valuable contacts with close people are.
Even one visit a month is enough
However, according to researchers, even one visit a month can reduce this risk. They pointed out that people who see their loved ones even on this frequency may benefit from this interaction because it provides “more practical support” or increases the likelihood of recognizing a person’s declining health and well-being. – Visiting your lonely and isolated relatives is very helpful. It is important that they are visited at least once a month – emphasizes the study’s co-author, Prof. Jason Gill.
The study did not look at possible reasons why loneliness may increase the risk of early death. However, Dr. Hamish Foster, the lead author of the analysis, explains that this may be due to the fact that lonely people are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking cigarettes or drinking large amounts of alcohol. He noted that these people also do not have someone to take them to a doctor or encourage them to seek help when they need it, which negatively affects their health.
If you are experiencing emotional problems and would like advice or support, here you will find a list of organizations offering professional help. In a situation of immediate threat to life, call 997 or 112.
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