Loneliness And Heart Disease Essay

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According to the American Heart Association, the standard disease course of heart disease consists of 4 different classes of the patient’s symptoms and quality of life, which are mild I, mild II, moderate, and severe (“Classes of Heart Failure”, 2015). Doctors base the progression of the disease based on an individual’s limitations during physical activity. Mild I refers to no limitations and no signs or symptoms of heart issues. Mild II refers to a slight limitation during physical activity, causing an individual to have fatigue, heart palpitations and shortness of breath. Moderate refers to the individual having limitations with slight physical activity, resulting in fatigue, heart palpitations and shortness of breath. Lastly, severe refers …show more content…
Being healthy and active can make the difference in the onset and progression of heart disease (“Heart Disease”, N.d.). Besides an individual suffering from heart disease, a psychosocial factor they can suffer from is feelings of loneliness. Loneliness refers to the agony an individual faces from “discrepancies between ideal and perceived social relationships” (Ernst & Cacioppo, 1999). Loneliness is not correlated with physically being alone, and the feeling can be present even when an individual has a large social network/circle. This psychosocial factor is a result of social skill deficits and personality traits that inhibit an individual from forming and maintaining social relationships (Ernst & Cacioppo, 1999). This occurs when an individual feels troubled that their social relationships are not gratifying. Research has proven that loneliness is linked to neuroticism, shyness, depressive symptoms, pessimism, low self-esteem, low conscientiousness and disagreeableness (Ernst & Cacioppo, 1999). Individuals who feel lonely tend to be more anxious, pessimistic and fearful of what others think of them, allowing them to act in a self-protective and defensive manner. This type of behavior then leads to self-defeating behaviors, causing the lonely individual to retract from establishing friendships, being more socially anxious, less trusting, and less satisfied with their relationships with others. Further, loneliness is related to a lack of self-disclosure in others, less engagement in structured groups, greater self-focus and poor partner awareness skills (Ernst & Cacioppo, 1999). In addition, lonely individuals report higher levels of daily stress, react more intensively to everyday stressors (such as traffic, loud noises, etc.), and they express minimal excitement during daily perks (Cacioppo et al., 2006). Although loneliness occurs due

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