Harvard Health Letter

Living alone linked to higher risk of cardiovascular death

Older people who have heart disease may die sooner if they live alone. That's the result of a new Harvard Medical School study published online June 18 in Archives of Internal Medicine. Brigham and Women's Hospital cardiologist Dr. Deepak Bhatt and his team of researchers found that living alone raised the risk of dying among adults between the ages of 45 and 79 who had unstable plaque in the arteries of the heart. Researchers surmised that for adults age 45 to 79, living alone may be a stressful psychosocial situation, whereas living alone at ages 80 or older indicates independence and self-sufficiency. In addition, someone healthy enough to live into his 80s or 90s may be better able to survive on his own, while an adult ages 45 to 79 who already has heart disease may have more health problems than others that age.

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