If you don’t have any friends, then you better start going out and meeting them!
According to a recent study from Harvard Medical School
, social isolation is actually linked to blood-clotting protein buildups that cause heart attack and stroke.
The study, which was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society - Biological Sciences, when you go through periods of social isolation, this will impel your body to be in a “fight or flight” stress mode. Why? It seems that this is explained back to the era when humans were alone, this would cause them to be at a greater risk from wild animals.
This “fight or flight” mode cause more fibrinogen to be produced which aids in blood-clotting or responding to an injury. However, too much of this would lead to a buildup of fatty deposits and raised blood pressure.
In the study, researchers compared the fibrinogen levels with the number of friends a person has and indeed found a link between the two.
Participants who had only 5 people in their social network had 20% higher levels of fibrinogen compared to those participants having 25 friends.
They discovered that when a person has about 10-12 fewer friends, it actually has the same effect with smoking.
David Kim from Harvard said
, “Measurement of the whole social network can provide information about an individual's cardiac risk that is not necessarily apparent to the individual herself. Social connectedness displays a significant association with fibrinogen.”
“Loneliness has already been linked to weaker immune systems and high blood pressure,” Dr. Nicole Valtorta, Lead Researcher from the University of York in the United Kingdom said. She says that a stronger social network is actually helpful for a person’s well-being and health. Making new friends and maintaining relationships can also help prevent diseases.