It is known that the economic cost of loneliness in Australia is higher for women than for men. But it’s hard to understand why women feel lonely more often than men, says Astghik Mavisakalyan, associate professor of economics at Curtin University. Perhaps there are some gender differences associated with loneliness. It could also be that men often have more opportunities to communicate through work. Moreover, this often happens at a time when women are sitting at home looking after the children.
One study found that Australian women were more likely to experience loneliness at age 17. In addition, the feeling of loneliness increases sharply after the age of 65. In men, the peak of loneliness is seen at the age of 50.
So what happens to the body when it seems to us that we are alone? If this does not last long, the body begins to produce more stress hormone – cortisol. But with prolonged loneliness, cortisol levels become higher on average. As a result, due to cortisol, the body produces more glucose to get more energy. As a result, we may become vulnerable to others and begin to experience emotional pain. All this can lead to evolutionary maladjustment when behavior in nature becomes unhealthy. For example, carb cravings are turning into an obesity epidemic.
Loneliness also causes a number of health problems. Lonely people are known to have a higher risk of developing senile dementia and worse cognitive function (IQ decreases by about 2% over time). That is, most of the $2.7 billion a year single people spend on medical services because their health is deteriorating.
Also during the study, Astghik suggests that loneliness can cause deterioration in behavior and health. The reality is that more than half of single men and women over the age of 65 report poor health. And this happens twice as often with people who do not feel lonely.
With chronic loneliness, human behavior changes and the inflammatory response of the immune system is triggered. And because of chronic inflammation, it can develop diabetes, cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular and other diseases.
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