Researchers evaluated data from four U.S. population surveys on social integration, social support, and social strain. They then compared the social relationships to blood pressure, waist circumference, body mass index, and systematic inflammation—four key markers for mortality risk. The team's results, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, not only back up past research directly linking social circles to longer life in old age, but they linked social circles to good health in early and middle adulthood as well.
Apparently, social isolation in young adulthood can increase inflammation risk as much as physical inactivity! And in old age, social isolation can be more damaging than diabetes when it comes to hypertension. These results are reason enough for us all to take a moment and evaluate our social life.