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Loneliness and Social Isolation: Determinants of Cardiovascular Outcomes.

Sharma T, Padala PR, Mehta JL. Loneliness and Social Isolation: Determinants of Cardiovascular Outcomes. Current cardiology reviews. 2021 Jan 1; 17(6):7-14.

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One in three Americans report experiencing loneliness in everyday life, a number that has grown exponentially over the last few decades. As we respond to the SARS-COV2 pandemic with quarantine and social distancing, social isolation and feelings of loneliness are increasing among people of all ages. This presents as an opportune time to recognize the public health impact of these important psychosocial determinants. Loneliness and social isolation are associated with a higher incidence of CVD, higher healthcare utilization and worse outcomes even after controlling for conventional risk factors of CVD. In this review, we discuss loneliness and social isolation as determinants of cardiovascular outcomes, the pathophysiology of this association, and its implications in clinical practice. We discuss some of the shortcomings in the assessment of loneliness and social isolation while identifying the most commonly used rating scales for the same. Finally, we suggest modifications to interventions for loneliness and social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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