Cardiovascular Death Risk Linked With Living Solo
7/6/2012 | AMRI faculty
Focus Article: Cardiovascular Death Risk Linked With Living Solo
Recent findings indicate “people living alone, who have arterial vascular disease, have a greater chance of dying from cardiovascular health problems than those living with other people.”
The new study claims that around 1 in every 7 American adults live by themselves, and when a person is socially isolated, their risk of health problems increases.
Our Physician’s Insight
The higher apparent instance of death in the individuals who live alone and who have diagnosed cardiovascular disease has interesting implications.
In the article, access to treatment; negligence about their condition were listed as potential contributing factors. In most human beings, having a companion (partner, room-mate, spouse, etc.) decreases many negative events of life. The presence of that or those persons may accomplish many positive things encompassed in the first two items mentioned above.
More importantly, several credible studies clearly demonstrated that critically-ill patients with canine and feline companions also had lesser rates of death. This may simply point to a basic human need of companionship. When this needs is unfulfilled, stress is induced and increases in endogenous catecholamine levels are observed.
Clinicians accepting the responsibility for treating patients with cardiovascular disease may greatly benefit their patients by broadening assessment to include social considerations and needs. With money and time allocations shrinking, meeting another layer of need will create an increased challenge. However, working with patients to address this issue may have highly positive rewards.
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