There’s a one-two punch coming up that could hit seniors right where it hurts.
We’re ALREADY isolated because of the coronavirus. And now, the holidays are coming. For many of us – especially older folks – that’s likely to make us feel even more alone.
The holiday season is often a reminder of those who are no longer with us, either because they’ve moved away or passed on.
In a GOOD year, the “most wonderful time of the year” can feel downright lonely. But in the age of COVID-19, the isolation is likely to be worse than ever.
And new research reveals how that can lead to more than just the seasonal blues. In fact, this hidden factor can put you at direct risk for developing diabetes.
But I’ve also got something else for you today. It’s a way to reverse that risk and get yourself back on track again.
The HIDDEN factor driving up DIABETES risk
You can’t see loneliness. It won’t show up on a blood test or an imaging scan.
But you can sure as heck FEEL it, often heavily. And especially around special occasions such as holidays.
Right now, many of us are separated from our loved ones and cut off from our neighbors as we hunker down to stay safe from the virus. And with seasonal travel pretty much out of the question for at-risk groups such as seniors, it’s about to get a whole lot worse.
That’s where the new study comes in. It reveals that this growing isolation isn’t just concerning because it makes you feel crummy. It could be doing crummy things to your body too.
And in this case, that means sending you straight down the path to type 2 diabetes, according to the study published in the journal Diabetologia.
Loneliness could send you to an early grave
The U.K. study tracked 264 older folks for a dozen years. And researchers found that those volunteers who were lonelier were MUCH likelier to develop diabetes.
Now it’s true that a link doesn’t always mean a cause. But here’s the thing. The researchers knew that, so they dug deeper.
And when it came to the development of diabetes, they found…
- It WASN’T just because loneliness and depression are often linked.
- It ISN’T because lonely people are more likely to eat poorly or drink heavily.
- And it’s NOT because lonely folks are more likely to live alone, and therefore less likely to be prodded into getting care when they need it. (Although pushy spouses DO literally save lives.)
The researchers adjusted for ALL those potential risk factors and others, including smoking, weight, blood pressure, and more. They found that loneliness increased the risk of diabetes on its own, entirely independent of those factors.
That might seem surprising, at first. But other studies have made the link between loneliness and the risk of serious health problems before.
And that includes the most serious one of all. Loneliness may increase your risk of early death by nearly a third.
Making new friends in the middle of the pandemic isn’t an option, of course. But you CAN do something to combat the loneliness and help you feel more connected while waiting for things to get back to normal.
These days it’s easier than ever to reconnect to old friends… high-school sweethearts… the cousin you were so close to as kids… and loved ones who’ve moved away. They’re on the phone, and they’re on Facebook.
Odds are, they’re waiting for someone else to reach out to them, too. So go ahead and make the first move.
Don’t forget video calling, which is closer to the real deal since you can see loved one’s faces. I even have friends who arrange fun activities like watching their favorite T.V. shows or cooking dinner together.
So go ahead and prop your cell phone or laptop up on the counter and get creative. And watch your diabetes risk plummet.