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The Truth About Social Isolation and Heart Disease Risk

Social isolation is a state of complete or near-complete lack of contact between an individual and society. It can be voluntary, based on the choices made by the individual, or involuntary due to social circumstances. 

Everyone needs someone. Humans, like every other animal, are social creatures. We are not designed to live in isolation. 

Unfortunately, humanity still faces fallout from forced social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The quarantine times showed everyone how much we truly need each other. 

Social isolation poses many risks to overall well-being. It can lead to feelings of loneliness, depression, and even physical health issues like high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and even an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.

Social isolation and heart health

Social isolation is a heart disease risk factor that has been gaining attention lately. While it has long been known that heart disease is primarily caused by lifestyle and environmental factors, researchers are now learning that social isolation could also play a role in heart health.

Studies have linked loneliness to an increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, and other heart-related illnesses. According to research conducted by the University of York, loneliness and social isolation can be as bad for your heart health as anxiety or job pressures. 

It was found that such feelings may significantly raise one’s risk of having either a stroke or a heart attack – with an increased rate compared to other known psychological risks.

Social isolation can cause stress and depression – two known heart disease risk factors – which can increase the likelihood of developing heart problems. It may also lead to unhealthy behaviors such as overeating or lack of physical activity, which can contribute to heart issues. 

Social isolation and older adults

When it comes to social isolation, older adults can be particularly vulnerable. As we age, our access to transportation can become limited, and many of us live far away from family members or friends. 

This can make us feel disconnected from the world around us, which can have severe implications for our physical and mental health.  Moreover, the longer we remain isolated, the harder it can be to break out of our shells and connect with others. 

How to help others who are socially isolated

Helping isolated people can be an enriching experience, but it can also be challenging to know where to start. Here are some tips for getting started:

  • Reach out and make contact – Taking the time to reach out and contact someone who is socially isolated shows that you care and are willing to invest in their wellbeing. It can be as simple as sending a message or making a phone call to let them know you are thinking of them.
  •  Listen – Listening is one of the most powerful tools for helping others. Taking the time to listen and understand someone and their fears and challenges can make a huge difference in how they feel. Often, people just need to be heard.
  • Invite them to join you – Inviting someone to join you for something like a meal, an outing, or even a conversation helps them feel included and supported. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, but it can make all the difference.
  • Ask them what they need – Asking someone who is lonely what they need and how you can help is a great way to start a conversation about their current situation. It also shows that you are open and willing to provide support in whatever way possible.
  • Connect them with resources – If you know of any relevant resources or organizations that could support someone socially isolated, take the time to connect them with those resources. This can be a great way to help them get the professional assistance they need.

How to help yourself if you are socially isolated

If you’re feeling socially isolated, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There are plenty of ways to connect with other people and overcome loneliness.

One strategy is to reach out to friends and family members who can provide social support. This can be done through phone calls, emails, or virtual hangouts. Exploring online communities or groups focused on topics you’re interested in is also a good idea. This can help you find people who share common interests and make meaningful connections.

Another way to combat social isolation is to get active in your local community. Look for activities such as volunteer work, sports teams, art classes, or book clubs that you can join. Doing something meaningful and getting out of the house can be a great way to meet new people and feel more connected.

Next steps

If you’re feeling particularly low, it may help to talk to a mental health professional. A counselor or therapist can provide an objective perspective, discuss potential strategies for managing loneliness, and offer support.

Remember, caring for your physical health is equally as important as caring for your mental health. Be sure that you are getting enough quality sleep, spending time outdoors in the sunshine, eating all the right foods to support excellent health, and focusing on reducing the toxic burden in your life.

If you have questions about things you can do to keep your heart healthy, reach out to us to book a FREE 20-minute call with one of our health coaches.


Medically Reviewed: Dr. Jack Wolfson, 2023

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About Dr. Keith Smigiel NP, DC

Dr. Keith Smigiel

Dr. Keith Smigiel is a regenerative medicine physician and pain management specialist. He takes an integrative approach to medicine, focusing on customized solutions tailored to individual needs. Using advanced, non-surgical treatments, Dr. Smigiel stimulates your body’s ability to naturally heal itself.

Dr. Smigiel helps people suffering from conditions such as chronic pain and erectile dysfunction, to hair loss and weight gain. Combining treatments such as PRP Therapy, Ozone, Neural Prolotherapy, and IV Infusions with functional rehabilitation, he helps you look and feel better.

He heals the body, instead of just treating the symptoms!

With his professional qualifications as a certified family nurse practitioner, a doctor of chiropractic, and a fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture, Dr. Smigiel offers patients comprehensive care from a broad perspective of conventional and alternative medicine. He also has extensive experience in functional rehabilitation and chronic pain management.

Dr. Smigiel is married to Angela and has two children, Sophia and Larz. When he’s not busy helping patients, he enjoys hiking, mountain biking, motocross, and boating.

About Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

As a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society (FHRS) and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS), Kneller provides comprehensive patient care, combining best medical practice with invasive procedures using state-of-the-art technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders.

Beyond guideline-directed therapies, Kneller is passionate about optimized personal health. With a deep interest in complimentary alternative medicine (CAM), he strives to reduce the need for pharmaceuticals, invasive procedures, and exposure to harmful radiation. With Natural Heart Doctor, he strives to help each and every client to Live Well, Eat Well, and Think Well to attain their 100-year heart!

About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

Dr. Lattanza Office Visit with Patient

As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

I dedicated the next 4 years to the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona where I attained my Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine. I served as Class President all 4 years, Board of Trustees – Student Trustee, spoke as the Club President for our branch of Toastmasters, and was voted by my peers and attending physicians to earn the Outstanding Leadership Award for the Class of 2020. Throughout medical school I took it upon myself to work alongside MDs, DOs, chiropractors, and functional medicine practitioners in addition to naturopathic physicians.

As a Spanish speaking student, I was able to volunteer with community clinics around Phoenix and provide free healthcare to low-income families. Due to this combined exposure, I came to find my passion in treating cardiometabolic and digestive disorders that are all too common, yet largely preventable. I took the opportunity to learn the broad spectrum of healthcare so I can ensure that I am able to provide my patients with the best options.

About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

Dr. Wolfson Office Visit with Patient

Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

For more than two decades, more than one million people have enjoyed the warmth, compassion, and transformational power of his natural heart health courses and events.

Dr. Wolfson is the founder of Natural Heart Doctor Scottsdale, his heart health practice in Arizona, and Natural Heart Doctor, an online resource center with natural health information. Doctors from across the globe reach out to Dr. Wolfson for training and education in holistic health practices.

He has been named one of America’s Top Functional Medicine Doctors and is a five-time winner of the Natural Choice Awards as a holistic M.D. Dr. Wolfson’s work has been covered by more than 100 media outlets, including NBC, CNN, and the Washington Post. His book “The Paleo Cardiologist: The Natural Way to Heart Health” was an Amazon #1 best-seller.

Dr. Wolfson and his wife Heather have four children and are committed to making the world a better place to live. They provide for those in need (including animals) and support natural health causes through their philanthropic efforts.

Chiropractic

Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

IV Therapy

We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Acupuncture

Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.