Loneliness is now a public health priority
According to WHO and CDC, loneliness and social isolation have become a huge health problem in the U.S.
According to CDC, one-third of adults aged 45 and older feel lonely, and nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated.
People experiencing loneliness and social isolation are at a much higher risk of premature death. Dementia, stroke, and heart failure are just some of the major health risks associated with loneliness and social isolation.
Loneliness and social isolation have also been linked with depression, anxiety, and a heightened risk of suicide.
Dr. Amit Shah, a Geriatrician at Mayo Clinic Arizona, joined us to talk about this issue and how to combat it.
According to Dr. Shah, loneliness does not always entail being alone; symptoms can occur even when an individual is surrounded by people. Yet 25% of people would rather be alone and won’t experience loneliness.
“Talk to your doctor because sometimes people who are feeling lonely may be depressed or anxious, and we have medications and treatments. And sometimes we over use those treatments when we just need to get people connected socially. Talking to your doctor is very important to start with,” said Dr. Shah.