Dr. Chauncey W. Crandall, author of Dr. Crandall’s Heart Health Report newsletter, is chief of the Cardiac Transplant Program at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He practices interventional, vascular, and transplant cardiology. Dr. Crandall received his post-graduate training at Yale University School of Medicine, where he also completed three years of research in the Cardiovascular Surgery Division. Dr. Crandall regularly lectures nationally and internationally on preventive cardiology, cardiology healthcare of the elderly, healing, interventional cardiology, and heart transplants. Known as the “Christian physician,” Dr. Crandall has been heralded for his values and message of hope to all his heart patients.

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Loneliness and Stress

Wednesday, 23 Mar 2011 10:26 AM


Studies have shown that people without a strong network of friends or family are at much greater risk of heart disease. Why does this happen? Lonely people have higher levels of cortisol and inflammation. Loneliness has also been shown to make it harder for blood to move through the arteries, which raises blood pressure.

The interesting thing is that loneliness is a “perceived” emotion. Some people don’t have a lot of social interaction but don’t feel lonely because they need a lot of “me” time. Others have people around them all the time, but still don’t feel connected. The connection is what is important.

This fact was illustrated in a study that consisted of interviews with nearly 1,300 patients who were scheduled to have coronary artery bypass surgery. They were asked to respond “yes” or “no” to 38 statements regarding their mental and physical health, such as: “Things are getting me down,” “I’m feeling on edge,” and “I’m in constant pain.”

Later, researchers compared the responses to the mortality rates of the patients (after controlling for risk factors such as age and smoking). It turned out that only one of the 38 statements — “I feel lonely” — was associated with mortality in both the short and long term.

Whether you have just a few close friends or a large family, the important thing is feeling connected. Talking with your spouse or a close friend is a powerful stress reducer.


© HealthDay

 
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