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Heart failure patients who are socially isolated tend to have worse functional and mental health than their socially-connected counterparts, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology/Lifestyle 2016 Scientific Sessions.

Researchers surveyed 645 people in Southeast Minnesota who had been diagnosed with heart failure.

They found:

  • People who were not socially isolated reported better scores in physical function, sleep and social activities, had less anxiety, depression, fatigue and pain and better overall health than those reporting moderate and high levels of social isolation.
  • In all but one area — sleep — heart failure patients who reported high social isolation fared worse than those with moderate social isolation.

Addressing social isolation might help to better manage heart failure patients, according to the authors.