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Loneliness Hurts Is Senior Health About More Than Disease

Loneliness hurts: Senior health about more than disease
Poor mental health, which affects 1 in 8 older adults, makes people more vulnerable to certain illnesses

Cholesterol grandmother is good, but maybe doctors should ask about his social life, too.

Think about health during his senior year, and a list of common diseases come to mind. But that's not the whole story. New research suggests factors such as loneliness and whether they have ever broken any bones since middle age also plays a role in the welfare of older adults.

In fact, layering on additional information to better predict whether a senior next five years will be strong enough or whether they are at high risk for death or disability just focus on what is a chronic disease that they had, the researchers reported Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"Ageing is not a linear process of wear and tear," says University of Chicago biopsychology Martha McClintock, who led the study. "It's a different way of thinking about aging."
Using government study of 3,000 middle-aged and older, the researchers compared the medical condition that doctors look for the average check-up - blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, cancer - with information about psychological health, mobility, hearing and sensory capabilities other and additional characteristics of everyday functions.

Of course having a group of serious diseases and become weak could mean the risk of death. Having uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure is very risky on top of other diseases.

But factoring in the characteristics of difficult-to-measure extra show some seniors with chronic illnesses are actually more likely to survive the next five years of their medical charts showed. And about half that by diagnosing the disease itself would be considered healthy actually more vulnerable to decline, the study found.


Factors extra "sign, they canary in the coal mine of some biological process of aging," said McClintock, who hopes the findings spur policy makers to focus more on Nondisease other aging conditions.

Jobs can help redefine how doctors determine the strength and quality of life of older patients, "says Dr. John Haaga from the National Institute on Aging, which funded the research.

"We really need to see more than a collection of diagnosis that they have. We got to see some alive and really ask some questions about mental health, about the recent events, which will help lead to treatments more vigilant," he said ,

Among the findings:
  • Poor mental health, which affects 1 in 8 people older adults, making people more susceptible to certain diseases. The researchers did not measure depression diagnosis, long known to complicate overall health. Instead, they asked if people feel lonely, if they are socially isolated, if they have trouble sleeping, if they are anxious or stressed or have low self-esteem.
(See also: Study: Beyond the scales, fitness and body fat key to health)

Why is this? Separately, McClinton has been studying the biology behind social isolation in rats caged separately or in groups, and found the loner gets more aggressive breast cancer more quickly, with a worse prognosis. isolation trigger physiological changes - hormone-reacted to the stress of everyday life, and the differences in the fatty breast tissue that supports the growth of cancer cells.
  • Breaking Bones at any time since the age of 45 is a marker of health problems in the future. It was surprising, and requires further research, BIN Haaga said, adding that while it was something that the doctor may consider.

A broken hip during his senior year that has long been known to send the patient to a spiral. However, this study involved a long healed fractures of any type since the middle ages to poor health in later life. They break may signal the start of the bone-thinning osteoporosis, or the initial balance problems and muscle weakness that increases the risk later, Haaga speculate.
  • good mobility - no trouble walking fast or get up from a chair - is one of the best indicators of well-being. Indeed, prior fractures are a risk for poor mobility later.
  • Obesity Seems that pose little risk to seniors during those expressed in physical health and mental well - without diabetes or heart disease that often accompany the extra pounds. Haaga noted there is controversy about whether overweight in the years to help seniors.
  • Sensory Functions - problems with hearing, sight and smell - also plays a role in the vulnerability of senior '. McClintock said contributions to social isolation, mobility and nutrition.


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