Social Isolation Associated with Increased Risk of Hypertension
Social isolation is a state of being cut off from normal social networks and can lead to loneliness. A recent study suggests that women who are socially isolated have a higher risk of hypertension.
For their study, the researchers used data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging which included 28,238 adults with an average age of 65. Blood pressure was measured using the automated BpTRU device. Information regarding marital status, living arrangement, social network size, and social participation was gathered.
The researchers found that women who did not have a partner, had less than 2 social activities per month, or a small social network size were at the highest risk of having hypertension. The risk of hypertension was highest among widowed women compared to married women. Regular social participation was found to have a protective effect for woman who did not have a partner. For men, living alone was linked to the lowest risk of hypertension.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of British Columbia. It was published online ahead of print on October 22, 2020 in the Journal of Hypertension.