Loneliness Associated With Poorer Health in Men

Loneliness Associated With Poorer Health in Men

A new study discovered a link between living alone and chronic systemic inflammation in men. Previous research has shown that men who have gone through a divorce or a breakup may experience health issues. In many cases, loneliness is associated with higher death rates.

The number of people who are socially isolated, divorced, or separated from their partner increases every day. Researchers from Denmark found that men who are separated from their partners or those who live alone for a longer period may have increased levels of inflammation. This is a very significant study since it lasted for 26 years, and it is the first one to examine how long periods of loneliness may affect men’s health.

Inflammation is one of the body’s defenses against wounds, diseases, and toxins. If long-term inflammation that lasts for extended periods occurs, leukocytes start to attack healthy tissues, leading to poorer physical and mental health and increased mortality.

The researchers examined data about the participants’ marital status and the length of the period of loneliness. In addition, they gathered information about the participants’ age, educational background, personal characteristics, health problems, and drugs that may affect inflammation. The research team also took blood samples to evaluate the inflammation levels.

The results showed that men who experienced more separations or loneliness had a greater increase in levels of inflammation. In fact, this increase was mostly found in men who lived alone for a longer period or who experienced more than two breakups or divorces. Maybe surprisingly, women’s health was less affected by loneliness or divorce.

However, this study has several limitations. Some of the participants who did not answer all the questions from the survey might have experienced more separations and breakups. One more drawback is the BMI of the individuals involved in the study since it is known that people with a higher BMI have more increased levels of inflammation. Further research will focus on how children may improve health and protect adults from loneliness.

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

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