Depression, social isolation (loneliness), lack of emotional support from family and friends are independently associated with heart disease and the risk of heart attack and death. This is very difficult to treat, as these people are "invisible" and unlikely to seek help. They may resort to drugs, alcohol, and, in extreme cases, suicide.
There is less support for these isolated people in today's impersonal and fragmented communities.
These conditions are common in the elderly, especially after the death of their partner or spouse. There are few things more depressing than loneliness, to a person who is frail and medically unwell and who has major financial problems. The bereavement may trigger a heart attack in an elderly, vulnerable person.
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