The loneliness often experienced by the elderly has rarely been explored. Now researchers say that two specific aspects of isolation -- limited emotional support and limited companionship -- can break a person's heart. They found that for every unit increase on a loneliness scale, the odds of having a heart condition increased three times.
UC Irvine researchers interviewed and tested 180 adults, age 58 to 90. Interviews and various tests were used to assess the volunteers' health (including the presence of a heart condition) and emotional well-being.