We all know how bad smoking is, but researchers at Harvard University have found a link between blood clotting protein levels caused by loneliness, and are suggesting that having no friends is probably just as deadly as smoking, making you more susceptible to strokes and/or heart attacks.
Being alone and not socializing activates what is known as the “fight or flight” stress signal. This signal causes protein fibrinogen levels to go up in anticipation of injury and blood loss. This is not great for health, fatty deposits build up in the arteries thanks to too much fibrinogen.
The researchers at Harvard found a connection by comparing blood-clotting protein levels in people with varying amounts of friends and family, and found that fibrinogen levels were higher in those with less friends and a lack of social networking.
Those who only had 5 friends had 20% higher levels than those with 25 friends, so 10-12 fewer friends drastically diminished health, with the impact being as high as those who smoke.
Having few friends results in people feeling vulnerable and threatened, this then causes the flight or flight response to trigger in an ongoing and sometimes lethal dose.
Lead Author Dr David Kim 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. Continue reading