According to researchers at the University of Texas, a new study shows that people who are secluded handle stress in a way that increases their risk of heart disease. They had a group of students carry out mentally and emotionally stressful tasks, having previously assessed their level of loneliness and social isolation.They found that the lonely students were more likely to respond with a blood pressure increase arising from increased resistance within the blood vessels.
By contrast, the non-lonely students responded with increased blood pressure too. Whereas this time it was because of an increase in cardiac output. The difference in physiological mechanisms may explain why lonely people tend to experience a gradual rise in systolic (higher figure) blood pressure as they age. Why loneliness affects the cardiovascular system in this way is not really clear - it may be that lonely people experience the world as a threatening and non-supportive place, thereby affectsand this conditions their response to stressful situations.