Loneliness was found to be a stronger predictor than lifestyle factors
By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter
MONDAY, July 3, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Loneliness is associated with a higher risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in patients with diabetes, according to a study published online June 29 in the European Heart Journal.
Xuan Wang, M.D., Ph.D., from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, and colleagues examined prospective associations between loneliness and social isolation with CVD risk in patients with diabetes. The analysis included data from 18,509 participants in the U.K. Biobank.
The researchers found that during a mean follow-up of 10.7 years, compared with participants with the lowest loneliness score (0), the risk for CVD was higher for participants with a loneliness scale score of 1 and 2 (hazard ratios, 1.11 and 1.26, respectively) in an adjusted analysis. There were no significant associations observed for social isolation. For predicting CVD, loneliness ranked higher in relative strength than lifestyle risk factors in patients with diabetes. There was a significant additive interaction noted between loneliness and the degree of risk factor control on the risk for CVD.
“Loneliness ranked higher as a predisposing factor for cardiovascular disease than several lifestyle habits. We also found that for patients with diabetes, the consequence of physical risk factors (i.e., poorly controlled blood sugar, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and poor kidney function) was greater in those who were lonely compared to those who were not,” a coauthor said in a statement. “The findings suggest that asking patients with diabetes about loneliness should become part of standard assessment, with referral of those affected to mental health services.”
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