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Staying Healthy

The new networking

July 1, 2018

Growing your real-life social network is important for health. Consider these ideas to get started.

 Image: © yacobchuk/Getty Images

When we're young, networking can be an important strategy to get ahead in business. Making new acquaintances and building relationships can lead to career opportunities. But later in life, networking takes on new significance: you may need it to stay connected socially. "Your social network shrinks. Your children leave home, you're no longer at work, or you've moved away. And that can lead to isolation and loneliness unless you maintain or rebuild your network," says Dr. Joel Salinas, a neurologist who specializes in behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

Isolation and loneliness

Many studies have linked isolation (being cut off from social contact) with a greater chance of having a heart attack or a stroke. A study published online March 27, 2018, by Heart suggested that isolation was independently associated with a 25% to 32% increased risk of death among people followed for seven years who had already had a heart attack or stroke.

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