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Study shows link between loneliness and HBP

March 18, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A new study, out of the University Of Chicago shows for the first time a direct relation between loneliness and high blood pressure in the elderly. The relation is independent of age and other factors that can cause blood pressure increase, including smoking, alcohol and race. Even subjects with moderate levels of loneliness were impacted.

Among all the people in the sample, the loneliest people saw their blood pressure go up by 14.4 mm more than the blood pressure of their most contented counterparts, over the four-year study period.

Experts say loneliness can be seen as a threat to a person's sense of safety, and that hyper-vigilance may contribute to changes in physiological functioning.