Heart Health : Social connection is the key


It is common knowledge that smoking, obesity and lack of exercise increases our risk of having a heart attack or stroke.But did you know your connection to others may be equally important to heart health? In a meta-analysis study published in the journal Heart, researches found social isolation and loneliness to be correlated with increased risk of stroke and coronary heart disease and hence affecting the heart health. The study reviewed 23 different published papers and the pooled data found that poor social connection increased the incidence of stroke by 32% and coronary heart disease by 29%. The study author emphasizes the importance of addressing this risk factor as a potentially effective means to prevent heart disease and to improve the heart health.

We now know that spending time with others is good for our heart health but our increasingly digital and busy world can make this a challenge. I believe a big step in achieving this is by making it a priority. Spend time with your family and extended family if you are lucky enough to have them close. Another great way to foster community is by joining a group, club, activity or gym. Attending a group class can be a way to connect with those who share an interest in healthy living. Even spending time with pets can provide similar benefits and has been shown to decrease loneliness.

Holistic medicine thrives in the prevention of heart disease because it focuses on a whole person approach- taking into account  diet, exercise, emotional health and social support. This recent research further highlights the benefits of this type of medical care.