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We examined whether social isolation and loneliness (1) predict acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and stroke among those with no history of AMI or stroke, (2) are related to mortality risk among those with a history of AMI or stroke, and (3) the extent to which these associations are explained by known risk factors or pre-existing chronic conditions.
Participants were 479,054 individuals from the UK Biobank. The exposures were self-reported social isolation and loneliness. AMI, stroke and mortality were the outcomes.
Over 7.1 years, 5,731 had first AMI, and 3,471 had first stroke. Social isolation and loneliness were associated with higher risk of AMI and stroke. When adjusted for all the other risk factors, the associations were attenuated considerably. In addition, social isolation, but not loneliness, was associated with increased mortality in participants with a history of AMI or stroke in the fully adjusted model.
Isolated and lonely persons are at increased risk of AMI and stroke, and, among those with a history of AMI or stroke, increased risk of death. Most of this risk was explained by conventional risk factors.