Living alone associated with higher risk of mortality, cardiovascular death

Living alone was associated with an increased risk of death and cardiovascular death in an international study of stable outpatients at risk of or with arterial vascular disease (such as coronary disease or peripheral vascular disease), according to a report published Online First by Archives of Internal Medicine, a JAMA Network publication. Social isolation may be associated with poor health consequences, and the risk associated with living alone is relevant because about 1 in 7 American adults lives alone. Epidemiological evidence suggests that social isolation may alter neurohormonal-mediated emotional stress, influence health behavior and effect access to health care, which may result in association with or acquisition of, cardiovascular risk, according to the study background.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School, Boston examined whether living alone was associated with increased mortality and cardiovascular (CV) risk.Living alone was associated with higher four-year mortality (14.1 percent vs. 11.1 percent) and cardiovascular death (8.6 percent vs. 6.8 percent), according to the study results.

"In conclusion, living alone was independently associated with an increased risk of mortality and CV death in an international cohort of stable middle-aged outpatients with or at risk of atherothrombosis," the authors conclude. "Younger individuals who live alone may have a less favorable course than all but the most elderly individuals following development of CV disease, and this observation warrants confirmation in further studies."


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