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Loneliness undermines health by increasing the risk of premature death

May 18th 2014 at 9:00 PM

An elderly who for years felt very lonely, has increased 14% probability, compared to the average person, to die prematurely, according to a new U.S. scientific research. The risk of premature death due to loneliness, is twice the risk of premature death due to obesity, and is almost identical to the corresponding risk because of poverty (19%). Researchers, led by Professor John Kakiopo Psychology at the University of Chicago, who made the announcement at the annual meeting of the American

Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), according to the British "Guardian" and "Intipentent", studied more than 2,000 people over 50 years for six years and found that most solitary of all were almost twice as likely premature death compared with those who felt the least lonely. According to the study, 20% to 40% of older people feel lonely, more or less at times. The problem of loneliness is usually greater on weekends and evenings. Indeed, as the life expectancy of people grows

the more the loneliness threatens the mental and physical health of the elderly. According to American psychologists, loneliness often has dramatic consequences for physical health, and the feeling of isolation from other people can disturb sleep, increase blood pressure and the level of the stress hormone cortisol (which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke), alter the expression of particular genes in cells associated with the immune system

and even to intensify the depression and worsen the overall feeling of satisfaction with life. Kakiopo O, considered an authority on loneliness internationally, said seniors can avoid loneliness, maintaining contacts with former colleagues, participating in family celebrations and other activities, spending time with friends and generally fostering emotional bonds with other people

"Withdrawing in Florida (or wherever) after writing to live in a warmer climate between strangers, is not necessarily a good idea if this means that one is disconnected from his own people, "he stressed, adding:" Around the world, people who continue after their retirement to have relationships with their former colleagues and close friends, feel less alone, "he added. The

American psychologist noted that some people actually take pleasure which is their own, but most feel better when they live in a social manner and with mutual support. "This development has encouraged people to work together to survive and, consequently, most people enjoy nothing more than to be left alone."

This American study shows indeed that is just not enough friends to hit the feeling loneliness, but people have the need to feel that they create relationships with meaning and depth, to care for others and others for them. Research shows that the vast majority of people in need face to face contact and the feeling of belonging to a group or a collective entity.

According to Kakiopo, not as an objective physical isolation (eg cell prison), as the subjective mental isolation that MORE harm to health. On the other hand, some possible consequences of giration, such as loss of hearing or vision, increase the risk for an elderly trapped in loneliness.

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