Here’s how loneliness, social isolation increases risk of hypertension, high blood pressure in women – sex and relationships


Loneliness and social isolation may increase the risk of hypertension and high blood pressure in women, suggested a study. The research used to be undertaken by the researchers at the University of British Columbia and used to be recently published in the Publication of High blood pressure. The study has found that social isolation affects the health of women and men in different ways–including placing women at higher risk of hypertension.

It further discovered that middle-aged and older women who lacked social ties were a lot more likely than men to be afflicted by high blood pressure — a known risk factor for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death among women–and stroke. “Among older adults, social isolation is the largest known risk factor for mortality, equal only to smoking,” said principal investigator Annalijn Conklin, assistant professor in the faculty of pharmaceutical sciences at UBC and researcher with the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences. “Less polite known is how social isolation affects women and men in a different way, or how it affects biomarkers of longevity. Our research indicates that women, in specific, are much more likely to be hypertensive when they experience isolation in middle and older age.”

The use of data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, these researchers analyzed the social ties of 28,238 adults aged 45 to 85, and found that women who were non-partnered, busy in fewer than three social activities a month, or had a small social network (fewer than 85 contacts) had higher odds of high blood pressure. Average systolic blood pressure used to be highest among widowed, lone-living and socially inactive women, and the largest difference in blood pressure used to be between widowed and married women. Widowed women were found to have the strongest likelihood of high blood pressure across all categories.

Among men, the picture used to be reasonably different. Those who were unmarried, shared a home with others, and had the largest social networks had the highest blood pressure, while those who had smaller networks and lived alone had lower blood pressure. The researchers found that combinations of different social ties also mattered. Steady social participation perceived to have a protective effect among non-partnered women, suggesting that health care providers may wish to screen for the number of monthly social activities, and include these alongside healthy diet and exercise when treating non-partnered older women.

“Among women, the increase in blood pressure that used to be associated with the lack of social ties used to be very similar to that seen with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory use, increased sodium diets pollution or weight gain,” said Conklin. “This represents a remarkable women-specific risk factor for heart disease or stroke.” Preceding research by Conklin the usage of the same data set found that women who were unmarried, widowed, divorced or separated had higher odds of abdominal and general obesity, while men were less likely to be obese whether they lived alone an d had a smaller social network.

“Taken with our preceding research, our new findings underline how social isolation affects health in women and men in a different way,” said Conklin. “At a time when Covid-19 is forcing us to limit our social interactions, it’s important for those working in health care and public health to encourage older women, in specific, to find new ways to be socially active.” Zeinab Hosseini, the lead writer who contributed to the work as a former postdoctoral fellow at UBC said more studies are needed on how precisely social connections have an effect on cardiovascular risk factors. “Prospective and intervention studies can help us understand this in addition to why the associations are different for women in comparison to men,” she said.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

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