The loneliness epidemic sweeping through the country is getting worse, and its effects are starting to show. Chronic loneliness has been shown to shorten lifespan by as much as 20 years, more than obesity or alcoholism. Loneliness can be even more dangerous for those with preexisting conditions which can be worsened as a result of loneliness. Loneliness can lead to an increase in risk of a number of health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and substance abuse.
Loneliness also has a measurable effect on the immune system – loneliness causes a substantial change on white blood cells, causing increased inflammation and decreased antiviral activity. On the flip side, loneliness can not just cause ill health, but also can be caused by ill health. Those suffering from chronic physical illnesses, dementia, or Alzheimer’s are at a higher risk of loneliness.
Learn more about the causes of loneliness and the fight against it here.