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Loneliness can literally hurt your heart, scientists say

The Washington Post

Ariana Eunjung Cha - The Washington Post

That pang in the middle of your chest when you feel lonely may not just be in your head. Researchers reported in the journal Heart this week that poor social relationships could actually hurt your heart.

The study involved what is known as a meta-analysis of 23 previous studies involving 181,000 people. This involves taking the raw data, pooling it and reanalyzing it. In total, the studies included 4,628 cases of cardiovascular disease and 3,002 stroke cases. The researchers found that being lonely or socially isolated appeared to be associated with a 29 percent increase in risk of heart disease and with a 32 percent increase in risk of stroke.

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