Wednesday January 22, 2020

Loneliness as Dangerous as Smoking or Obesity: Researchers

To reach this conclusion, researchers conducted individual interviews of 30 adults of ages 67-92, part of an overall study evaluating the physical, mental and cognitive functions of 100 older adults living in the independent living sector of a senior housing community in San Diego

0
//
Loneliness Can Worsen Mental Health And Can Double The Risk Of Dying
The research team also found that wisdom, including compassion, seemed to be a factor that prevented loneliness. Pixabay

Loneliness rivals smoking and obesity in its impact on shortening longevity and has become a public health concern, especially for older adults, say researchers.

With older adults increasingly moving into senior living or retirement communities, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine sought to identify the common characteristics of residents who feel lonely in these environments.

The new study, published in the journal ‘Aging and Mental Health’, found that people’s experience of living with loneliness is shaped by a number of personal and environmental factors.

Age-associated losses and inadequate social skills were considered primary risk factors for loneliness.

“Some residents talked about the loss of spouses, siblings and friends as the cause of their loneliness. Others mentioned how making new friends in a senior community cannot replace deceased friends they grew up with,” said Alejandra Paredes, a research fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at University of California San Diego School of Medicine.

The feeling of loneliness was frequently associated with a lack of purpose in life.

obesity
Two women converse in New York, June 26, 2012. The nation’s obesity epidemic continues to grow, led by an alarming increase among women. Obesity is one of the risk factors of heart failure. VOA

Others expressed a sense of “not being attached, not having very much meaning and not feeling very hopeful” or “being lost and not having control”.

The research team also found that wisdom, including compassion, seemed to be a factor that prevented loneliness.

Other protective factors were acceptance of aging and comfort with being alone.

Also Read: NASA Satellite Reveals More Plants are Growing Around Everest

To reach this conclusion, researchers conducted individual interviews of 30 adults of ages 67-92, part of an overall study evaluating the physical, mental and cognitive functions of 100 older adults living in the independent living sector of a senior housing community in San Diego.

“It is important that we identify the underlying causes of loneliness from the seniors’ own perspectives so we can help resolve it and improve the overall health, well-being and longevity of our aging population,” suggested senior author Dilip V. Jeste, senior Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine. (IANS)

Next Story

Prenatal Smoking, Drinking Increases SIDS Risk; Says New Study

According to the researchers, these risks were in comparison to infants who were either not exposed to tobacco or alcohol during gestation or whose mothers quit tobacco or alcohol use by the end of the first trimester

0
Effects of smoking
Excessive smoking can increase the chances of looking old as well. Pixabay

Children born to mothers who drank and smoked beyond the first three months of pregnancy have 12-fold increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), says a new study.

SIDS is the sudden, unexplained, death of an infant under one year of age. Many studies have shown that the risk of SIDS is increased by maternal smoking during pregnancy.

Some studies have also found that prenatal alcohol exposure, particularly from heavy drinking during pregnancy, can increase SIDS risk.

The findings, published in the journal The Lancet, provide a look at how SIDS risk is influenced by the timing and amount of prenatal exposure to tobacco and alcohol.

“Our findings suggest that combined exposures to alcohol and tobacco have a synergistic effect on SIDS risk, given that dual exposure was associated with substantially higher risk than either exposure alone,” said said first author Amy J Elliot from Avera Health Centre for Pediatric and Community in US.

For the findings, researchers followed the outcomes of nearly 12,000 pregnancies among women from two residential areas in Cape Town, South Africa; and five sites in the US.

men smoking
A Chinese man smokes in front of a pillar with a no smoking notice on display at a bus station in Beijing. VOA

The study sites were selected for their high rates of prenatal alcohol use and SIDS, and to include populations where the ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in SIDS remains understudied.

The researchers determined one-year outcomes for about 94 per cent of the pregnancies.

They found that 66 infants died during that time, including 28 SIDS deaths and 38 deaths from known causes.

Also Read: Marijuana Associated with Higher Risk of Heart Problems: Study

In addition to the almost 12-fold increased SIDS risk from combined smoking and drinking beyond the first trimester of pregnancy, they determined that the risk of SIDS was increased five-fold in infants whose mothers reported they continued smoking beyond the first trimester, and four-fold in infants whose mothers reported they continued drinking beyond the first trimester.

According to the researchers, these risks were in comparison to infants who were either not exposed to tobacco or alcohol during gestation or whose mothers quit tobacco or alcohol use by the end of the first trimester. (IANS)