Heart Disease Patients Living Alone May Die Sooner
A new study has found that heart disease patients are increased risk of death if they live alone. Previous studies have been conducted, which have shown inconclusive findings. However, this study was more thorough and well documented than the others.
The study was conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. The study was thoroughly researched and evaluated more than 44,000 people from around the world. Everyone in the study was over the age of 44. Over the course of the study 7.7% of participants under the age of 65 died when they were living alone. Only 5.7% of people in the same age group died while living with a friend, relative or roommate.
Living Alone and Mortality Risk
The increased risk wasn’t as significant for people in the 66-80 year old age group. Meanwhile, people over the age of 80 were no more likely to die if they were living alone than with peers. Researchers speculated that the people over 80 may be more strong-willed, independent and make healthier life decisions than younger people with heart disease.
The results of the study were surprising to many experts. Researchers said their data was very important, but they are at a loss to explain their findings. A few theories have been proposed.
Access to Medical Care
One possibility is that people who live alone may have more difficulties accessing medical care. They may be at a much higher risk if they don’t have someone at home to call the emergency room. Some people may also not realize how much they need to see a doctor unless they have a friend or family member to point out to them how sick they appear.
Immune System Function
Other studies have shown people who are socially isolated tend to have weaker immune systems. These studies have been referenced by the American Psychological Association. Social isolation carries depression and other mood problems, which make people more prone to a number of health problems.
This report may suggest that physicians should ask their patients if they are living alone. They may need to advise patients that they will need to take necessary steps to make sure that they have proper access to medical care if they don’t have anyone else in the house to look after them. However, more research may need to be conducted on other risk factors such as loneliness and depression. Patients may need some encouragement to live a more active social life if they are living on their own.