Peer Reviewed

cardiovascular disease

Loneliness Increases CVD Risk in Postmenopausal Women

Social isolation and loneliness were associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in postmenopausal women, according to a recent study presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Conference 2021.

Using data from nearly 60,000 participants in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, the researchers evaluated this relationship further.

They used the 3-Item UCLA Loneliness Scale and a questionnaire to measure loneliness and social isolation. Overall, 1599 heart attacks, strokes, or CVD-related deaths occurred during the 4-year follow-up.

Risk of CVD events were 16% higher in women with high levels of social isolation, 11% higher in women with high levels of loneliness, and 29% higher in women with high levels of both.

“Our results suggest measures of social isolation and loneliness, even with brief questions, should be incorporated into standard care,” they wrote. “We monitor our patients’ blood pressure, weight and temperature, and it might also be beneficial to capture the social needs that women may be lacking — to better understand cardiovascular risk and develop solutions.”

—Michael Potts

Reference:

LaCroix AZ, LaMonte MJ, Golaszewski N, et al. Social isolation and loneliness linked to increased risk of CVD in post-menopausal women. Presented at: American Heart Association’s Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Conference 2021; May 20-21, 2021; Dallas, Texas. Accessed May 20, 2021. https://newsroom.heart.org/news/social-isolation-and-loneliness-linked-to-increased-risk-of-cvd-in-post-menopausal-women