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How Loneliness Can Affect Your Health

By Genevieve Cunningham

Everyone understands the feeling of loneliness. We've all experienced that pang of missing those we love. For most, it's a temporary feeling  something that comes in certain moments in life. But for others, loneliness is a way of life. Most of their time is spent alone, and there seems to be little they can do about it. For these people, loneliness is definitely more than a feeling. It's a legitimate health concern. If you or someone you love is experiencing a bout of loneliness, take a look at how it could damage health in a significant way.

It Can Make You More Susceptible to Disease

Research suggests that loneliness actually makes a person more susceptible to disease. Researchers are unsure as to why exactly this happens, but the thought is that poor moods actually suppress the immune system. Those who spend massive amounts of time alone (and don't want to) may be more susceptible to serious diseases such as heart disease, and they may also be more likely to develop serious complications from a seemingly harmless illness.

It Can Speed Up Cognitive Decline

This phenomenon is most frequently observed among the elderly. Those who have fewer visitors or who are visibly lonely tend to lose their cognitive function at a faster pace. It has even been suspected that loneliness may contribute to the faster onset of dementia or Alzheimer's. Though these links are obviously not concrete, there is enough correlation to bring it into question.

It Lowers Your Mood

Loneliness is hard on people. It can make you feel depressed and anxious and can keep your moods lower on a more consistent basis. And this can lead to a serious decline in overall mental health. This is probably not a surprising statistic, but it's one worth mentioning since most of us know someone who experiences more than their fair share of loneliness.

Loneliness isn't a joke. Too many people suffer from loneliness, and it's extremely likely that their health is suffering as a result. If you know someone experiencing loneliness, reach out and help them find the help they need. If you are experiencing loneliness, reach out to family members, friends, or community organizations to get engaged in life. That lonely feeling happens, and that's OK. But don't let it take your health. Get help and improve your health and life all in one swift move.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Little Rock, Ark.

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