(June 18, 2012 - Insidermedicine)
For those who have or are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, living alone has been linked with an increased risk of dying in research published online ahead of print in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Here are some tips to maintain cardiovascular health as you age:
• Refrain from smoking
• Take medications your doctor prescribes, even if you don’t feel sick
• Stay physically active
For up to 4 years, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston followed nearly 45,000 people who were middle aged or older and who had or who were at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. The investigators looked at the relationship between the participants’ living arrangements and their risk of dying, after taking into account their age, sex, other health-related risk factors, treatments they were taking, and sociodemographic factors.
Overall, nearly 20% of the participants were living alone. Those who lived alone were slightly more likely to die from cardiovascular disease or from any cause during the follow-up period than those who lived with others. This association was most notable among the younger participants. Among those 45 to 65 living alone was associated with a 24% increased risk of death, while among those aged 66 to 80 it only increased the risk by 12%. The association between living alone and the risk of dying disappeared for participants over 80.
We spoke with Dr. Deepak Bhatt, corresponding author of the study, who offered some further insight.
Today’s research suggests that living along can worsen your prognosis if you have poor heart health, but these findings need to be confirmed with additional studies.