Social isolation, loneliness may raise risk for CVD in older women



Golaszewski NM, et al. Presentation MP28. Presented at: American Heart Association Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions; May 20-21, 2021 (virtual meeting).

The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

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Social isolation and loneliness were associated with elevated risk for CVD in older women, researchers reported.

Natalie M. Golaszewski

“Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women in the U.S. We are learning that factors currently not identified in standard care, such as social isolation and loneliness, can impact women’s risk of cardiovascular disease,” Natalie M. Golaszewski, PhD, postdoctoral fellow at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at the University of California, San Diego, said in a press release. “We are social beings. In this time of COVID-19, so many people are experiencing social isolation and loneliness, which may spiral into chronic states of social isolation and loneliness. It is important to further understand the acute and long-term effects these experiences have on cardiovascular health and overall well-being.”

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At the American Heart Association’s virtual Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions, Golaszewski presented an analysis of

57,825 women (mean age, 79 years) with no history of CVD events. All participants were followed for up to 4 years (total follow-up, 186,762 person-years) for incident major CVD, defined as MI, stroke and CV death.

In fully adjusted models, each one interquartile range increment in social isolation (adjusted HR = 1.07; 95% CI, 1.03-1.12) and loneliness (aHR = 1.05; 95% CI, 1.01-1.09) was associated with elevated risk for incident CVD.

According to the researchers, social support did not have an impact on either association (P > .05).

“High social isolation and high loneliness are independently associated with greater risk of cardiovascular disease among older women. Additionally, there is an additive effect such that older women who experience both high social isolation and high loneliness are at an even greater risk of cardiovascular disease,” Golaszewski told Healio.

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