It’s a condition that can steal five years from your life.
That’s five years with your loved ones lost. Some of your best golden years… which should be packed to the gills with fun-filled road trips and holidays… stolen away in the blink of an eye.
And yet, it gets virtually no attention at all. Which, in many ways, makes this condition as dangerous as the “big ones” like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
But unlike those conditions, you can’t treat loneliness with drugs or surgery. In fact, most doctors won’t recognize your struggling with it, let alone try to help.
But it’s not all bad news. Because in this case, you can “treat” this problem yourself. And the solution could be as easy as a quick phone call to an old friend.
How LONELINESS can turn DEADLY
There are some things you can count on when you go to see the doctor for a checkup. He’ll take your blood pressure and check your cholesterol.
He’ll likely gaze down your throat and into your ears. Chances are he’ll shine a light into your eyes. And he might even hit your knees with that tiny hammer to check your reflexes.
But most docs, even the ones you like, will never stop to ask you about your day. And that’s not just an etiquette issue or a failure to make polite conversation.
It turns out it could be a deadly mistake, too. As a new study exposes the frightening toll that loneliness can take on your health and longevity.
While other studies have found that loneliness can impact specific health problems, the new research puts a number on it. And it’s those five years I mentioned.
Seniors battling loneliness most often die up to five years sooner than folks who stay close to friends and family or are more socially active.
The study also confirms that these same less connected seniors tend to have poorer overall health as well. And believe it or not, that’s often the result of loneliness, too.
Previous research has revealed some of the reasons for it.
Too much time alone can ruin your health
First, older folks who spend too much time alone have a higher risk of dementia. Experts say that may be partly because social activity helps keep the brain active and busy, which can naturally help protect against cognitive decline.
Second, people who are alone often don’t take the best care of themselves. In many cases, it’s a spouse or friend who encourages a doctor’s visit when something is off with your health. Or, in more urgent situations, will drive you to the ER or call an ambulance.
Third, lonely people often stay home, where they are inactive. And that lack of physical activity is also a major risk factor for early death.
And finally, folks who live alone and don’t have much social activity often have worse habits, including making poor diet decisions, smoking, and heavy drinking. After all, there’s no one else around to stop them or encourage better behavior.
As a result, a study published a few years back found that loneliness can cut your life short in virtually the same way as other serious chronic conditions such as obesity.
If you’re spending too much time alone, it’s time to change that. Pick up the phone and reach out. Reconnect with old friends and loved ones. Odds are, some of them are feeling just as lonely as you.
And don’t stop there. Go out for walks, visit the library, attend church, and check out your local senior center. You’ll find connecting with your community and taking part in activities is the perfect cure for loneliness.
Plus, I’ve got some more tips for you to try right HERE.