Lonely? Your health may suffer

A study found that those, ages 45 and up, who lived alone were more likely to die from heart attacks, strokes, or other heart complications.

Story highlights

  • Living alone may increase a person's risk of premature death
  • The risk was highest in middle-aged people, just 14% of whom lived alone
  • Some experts view persistent loneliness as a form of stress
Loneliness and isolation can affect your quality of life -- and maybe your quantity of life, too.
Studies have shown living alone -- or even just feeling lonely -- may increase a person's risk of premature death.
One study followed nearly 45,000 people ages 45 and up who had heart disease or a high risk of developing the condition. Those who lived alone, the study found, were more likely to die from heart attacks, strokes, or other heart complications over a four-year period than people living with family or friends, or in some other communal arrangement.
The risk was highest in middle-aged people, just 14% of whom lived alone. Solo living increased the risk of heart problems and early death by 24% among people ages 45 to 65, and by only 12% among people ages 66 to 80. And there was no association at all in people age 80 and older, a group in which living alone is common.
More research is needed to