Socially connected people live longer, says Medico body

Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) Tuesday said that people who have strong social relationships with family, friends and community live longer.

President DAK Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement said that regular face-to- face interactions with others could extend your lifespan by years.

“If you are connected to your neighbors, have strong family ties and are involved in your community, you could add upto ten years to your life,” he said. “Researchers at Brigham Young University, United States have analyzed data from 148 studies and found a clear connection between social ties and lifespan.”

Dr Hassan said people with stronger relationships had 50% increased likelihood of survival than those with weaker social relationships. “That is on par with ceasing smoking and nearly twice beneficial as physical activity in terms of decreasing your odds of dying early,” he added.

“The higher rates of centenarians in Sardinia, an Italian island was found to be related to their strong social connect,” Dr Hassan quoted another research finding.

He said social contact releases whole cascade of neurotransmitters that protects you in the present and well into the future.

“In-person interaction releases oxytocin which increases your level of trust and lowers cortisol that buffers your stress,” he said.

Dr Hassan said that people who are social have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and better glucose metabolism.

“Social interactions can help you pull in healthy habits and behavior. People around you can bring sense of purpose and meaning in your life that translates to taking better care of yourself,” Dr Hassan said.

“While social integration increases longevity, more and more people are living alone and loneliness is becoming increasingly common, he said adding studies have shown that people with fewer social relationships die early.”

“Physicians and healthcare providers should emphasize the significance of social relationships on health as much as advocating for eating right and exercising,” he opined.

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