It’s not only the elderly who suffer from loneliness.
Scientists at the University of North Carolina now believe that a teenagers are just as much at risk.
Isolation can cause harmful changes to the body in adolescents just as in the elderly. Those with fewer friends are significantly more likely to have high levels of inflammation and higher blood pressure when they reach adulthood.
The scientists examined four age groups to find out why lonely people die earlier and are more susceptible to many diseases.
A large group of 12 – 18 year olds were asked about their friends and 8 years later had their blood pressure, bmi, and a test to measure inflammation. Social isolation made the teenagers 27% more likely to have high inflammation, a sign of biological stress, in their early adulthood.
A professor of sociology at the university, Kathleen Harris, said scientists had been concerned with the impact of loneliness on the elderly but had overlooked the impact on younger people. “Young people are not as healthy as they appear …. because of the obesity epidemic“.
The weight of the adolescents was also a confounding factor in the study as those who were obese as teenagers were twice as likely to have high inflammation as adults. But were the overweight teenagers less popular because of their weight?
Nevertheless the scientists concluded that an adolescence spent in solitude was likely to lead to health problems later in life. After age 18 the size of the social network don’t matter until people reached old age.
Public Health England has said office workers should spend 4 hours of their working day standing up to avoid serious health problems.
A report in the British Journal of Sports Medicine said employers should encourage the workforce to break up their day by getting away from their desks with standing work or breaks for at least 2 hours a day.
They suggest that we should use more “standing” desks to move away from a sedentary life-style and move towards one where we spend half the working day on our feet.
“Unlike purposeful exercises, standing is something that the vast majority of individuals can do without too much effort and it doesn’t detract from time at work“.
At present the researchers believe that office workers spend between 65% and 75% of their time in periods of prolonged sitting. In Scandinavia 90% of office workers have access to standing…
More than four cups of coffee a day puts you at risk of early death, claim experts
U.S. researchers found more than 28 cups of coffee a week increases by half the chances of premature death in younger people. If you’re already holding your first coffee of the morning, you might want to put it down.
Because drinking four cups a day could raise your risk of dying young, researchers warn – but only if you’re under 55.
They found that consuming 28 cups of coffee a week increases the chances of premature death in younger people by half. The findings come from a large- scale American lifestyle study of 43,727 individuals aged 20 to 87.
The US researchers suspect (what they mean is they do not know) excessive coffee consumption may adversely affect the body’s metabolism, outweighing some of the known health benefits.
Loneliness increases the risk of death in elderly people by 10%.
Lonely people adopt a sedentary lifestyle, exercise less and drink more all of which leads to a higher incidence of heart disease and blood clots.
People who live alone also suffer more from debilitating diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and glaucoma.
Statistics show that 51% of people who live alone suffer from arthritis and rheumatism compared with 38% of people who live with others.
The Timesis backing a charity campaign to support the WRVS which works to help isolated elderly people.And now the government has said it will measure and track loneliness so that local authorities can target services better.
The first study into this topic was carried out only 6 years ago by the University of California and found that lonely people had almost twice the risk of death than others. Cambridge University found that people living alone were more than twice as likely to have falls.
Jeremy Hunt the Health Secretary said; “the mark of a civilised society is how well we care for older people and loneliness can have a major impact on a person’s health and happiness”.
Previous research has focused mainly on the impact on mental health of living alone including “death by heartbreak“
Britain’s six million unpaid carers are in trouble, according to a report by the Carers Trust.
Six out of ten adult carers report having mental health problems due to the stress of juggling caring and their other responsibilities.
One in four experience both mental and physical health problems including insomnia, muscular strains, and exhaustion.
Six out of ten said caring responsibilities had damaged their careers.
It’s estimated that these carers save the government almost £120 billion a year and yet two thirds of them had never received any help including counselling and respite care.
Carers are twice as likely to suffer ill-health and almost 75% suffer financially. Furthermore a quarter of the carers are over 60 years of age and have to try and manage lifting, feeding and supporting infirm people.
The government has recognised the increasing problem but has done little or nothing about it. It will get worse as the population ages and the number of carers could increase to nine million over the next twenty-five years.