HealthDay News — Social isolation and loneliness are independently associated with modestly higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) among older women, according to a study published online Feb. 2 in JAMA Network Open.

Natalie M. Golaszewski, PhD, from the University of California in San Diego, and colleagues used data from 57,825 community-living U.S. women (aged 65 to 99 years) participating in the Women’s Health Initiative Extension Study II, who were free from CVD at baseline.

The researchers found that the risk of CVD was higher for women with high versus low social isolation scores (hazard ratio [HR], 1.18), and for high versus low loneliness scores (HR, 1.14). When adjusting for health behaviors and health status, risk remained slightly higher for loneliness (social isolation: HR, 1.08; loneliness: HR, 1.05). Higher risk for incident CVD was seen among women with both high social isolation and high loneliness scores (13.0 to 27.0% higher risk), compared to both low social isolation and low loneliness scores. Social support did not significantly impact these associations.


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“The findings suggest that these prevalent psychosocial processes merit increased attention for prevention of CVD in older women, particularly in the era of COVID-19,” the authors write.

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