Most of us experience being lonely at times. Maybe after a breakup, or when moving to a new city. Loneliness is a depressing feeling and is something the no one wants to experience. But aside from being a bad feeling, can loneliness be dangerous to your health? According to some research loneliness can pose serious health risks.
It may be hard to believe but some researchers are of the opinion that being lonely is on par with diabetes or smoking 15 cigarettes a day when it comes to your health. Some experts even want to consider loneliness an epidemic that is affecting some 60 million in America alone. Since the 80’s the number of adults reporting loneliness has gone from 20 percent to 40 percent.
Loneliness can affect anyone but, in some cases, it happens more to certain groups of people. Immigrants, the elderly, the disabled, and those in low-income family’s experience loneliness more often than other groups.
Loneliness is more widespread in big cities where there are sometime feeling of social isolation.
So what kind of health problems can be brought on through being lonely? There are so many health issues that some experts believe it should be treated as a chronic illness. Lonely people generate inflammation related proteins that can lead to health problems such as type 2 diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression just to name a few. Loneliness may also weaken the immune system and the stress it causes can increase the risk of heart disease.
The problems associated with being lonely are often multiplied by the depression that comes with loneliness. Obesity is often a consequence of being lonely which can lead to feelings of social unacceptance which can in turn cause more feeling of loneliness.
Researchers have yet to learn what is the main reason for the increase in loneliness lately, but it may have something to do with the fact that more people live alone today. What ever the reason, people need to be aware of the consequences of being lonely.