Loneliness can increase blood pressure
Mar 30, 2006 - 3:00:37 PM

Loneliness may up the blood pressure in older people, say scientists, leading to heart disease, stroke and many other health problems.

Loneliness is a normal human emotion that many people experience at some point in their lives.

Louise Hawkley and colleagues at the University of Chicago studied 229 people aged 50 to 68 and checked their blood pressure. They also studied their loneliness, depression and hostility, reported health portal WebMD.

Systolic blood pressure (the first number in a blood pressure reading) was 10 to 30 points higher in participants with the highest scores on the loneliness survey, compared to those with the lowest loneliness scores, they found.

That pattern was strongest in the oldest participants. Blood pressure naturally rises with age, and loneliness might increase it further, the researchers wrote in journal 'Psychology and Aging'.

Hawkley and colleagues had previously studied loneliness in younger people. In young adults, loneliness wasn't tied to blood pressure.

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