Loneliness and vascular biomarkers: the Dublin Healthy Ageing Study

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2012 Jan;27(1):83-8. doi: 10.1002/gps.2695. Epub 2011 Mar 2.


Background: Loneliness has been associated with poor physical health and a link has been suggested between the presence of loneliness, cardiovascular health and inflammatory markers.

Objective: To investigate the association between vascular disease biomarkers and loneliness in a community-dwelling non-demented elderly population.

Design: cross-sectional community based assessment.

Participants: 466 subjects with mean age 75.45 (SD, 6.06) years. 208 (44.6%) were male.

Results: Higher levels of HbA1c, but not other vascular biomarkers were independently associated with being lonely.

Conclusion: Loneliness was associated with raised levels of HbA1c in a community dwelling elderly population. The mechanism for this association has yet to be elucidated but may reflect an abnormal stress response in people who are lonely.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Body Mass Index
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / analysis
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism*
  • Homocysteine / blood*
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Loneliness / psychology*
  • Male


  • Biomarkers
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Lipids
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human
  • Homocysteine
  • C-Reactive Protein