Today is the first time in over two years we've had sleepover guests that are not my grandson or kids. No one has even been over for dinner except our kids and their significants.
We have a houseful of kids staying here tonight. The house is noisy and chaotic and it's great to see the kids all playing together and being silly.
Connection is so important. It's something that we've not been able to experience for a very long time the way we once did. Through much of our period of COVID, we had to stay disconnected physically. I believe this experience had a negative impact on the mental health of so many people. It was especially harmful for people who live alone and had no physical contact with other people.
What does this have to do with heart health?
Isolation can damage your cardiovascular health also. When you are under unrelenting stress, the chemicals that released in response to that stress can severely impair your heart health over time.
Loneliness or depression can also have its way with your heart health. Not only will it impact your willingness to take care of yourself, it can also cause high blood pressure and other conditions that can affect your heart. According to this article, loneliness can have the same negative impact on your heart as smoking or obesity.
Connection is so important to us as humans. We are social animals and when we are separated from each other for long periods, the impact can be significant...especially if the isolation is forced.
But it isn't just heart health
Heart health isn't the only part of your life to be impacted. Loneliness can weaken your immune system. Your risk of developing dementia increases by 50% with loneliness. This becomes really relevant in older adults. As partners, family members and friends die, health declines, hearing loss increases, these factors contribute to social isolation. And you don't have to be socially isolated to be lonely. If you don't have that connection to people, you can be very lonely. And loneliness can lead to premature death.
What should you do?
There are available resources that can help if you reach out. There are many organizations that support healthy aging. Physicians offices can provide access to resources to help out. No one has to be alone if they don't want to.
If you suffer from loneliness and want help, ask for it. You do not need to stay in your loneliness.
As a health coach, I work with women who are facing serious health challenges like heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes or who have been diagnosed as having a precursor to a serious health issue such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high blood sugar. I help them make food and lifestyle changes so they can get healthy, live longer and enjoy a fuller, happier, more energetic life. If you would like to have a free consultation about the health challenges you have and the improvements you would like to see in your health, click here to schedule a no strings attached call.