The outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has completely altered the way people live. Schools and businesses are closing. People are being asked to stay home and practice social distancing.
Even before COVID-19 made headlines, people didn’t need to leave home for much — not to shop, not even to socialize.
Despite the online conveniences and connectedness, there are a lot of lonely people. One in five Americans say they feel lonely or socially isolated. And it hurts.
Loneliness poses a greater threat to health than obesity. It can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. How?
Research suggests loneliness impairs health by raising levels of stress hormones and triggering an inflammatory response, which in turn can increase the risk of heart disease, arthritis, type 2 diabetes and dementia, among other issues. Feeling lonely can also lead to anxiety and depression.
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