How loneliness can affect heart health

(CNN) – While it’s clear that social isolation can raise all sorts of emotional and mental health concerns, a new study finds it can also impact your heart.

From Patsy Cline, to Dusty Springfield, and Three Dog Night, musicians sing about it and scientists study it, warning that loneliness impacts your health.

A new study spells out just how much social isolation effects your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Researchers at the University of York found that people who are isolated have a 29 percent higher risk of having heart disease and a 32 percent higher risk of having a stroke.

Earlier research found being alone can also lower your life span. Increasing the risk of premature death by 50%

In ranking heart health risk factors the study puts loneliness well below smoking, but on the same level as anxiety.

Researchers point out that isolation can also influence lifestyle choices.  People who are alone may be less likely to eat well, exercise and see the doctor.

To stave off those lonely blues consider signing up for programs that offer social opportunities.  Therapy that focuses on improving social skills have also proven effective.

Copyright CNN 2016

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