Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

Living Alone Raises Serious Heart Risk

People Who Live Alone Twice as Likely to Have a Heart Attack
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

July 13, 2006 -- Living alone may be hazardous to your heart.

A new study shows that people who live alone are twice as likely to have a heart attack or serious chest pain and sudden cardiac death as those who live with a partner or roommate.

Researchers say the results suggest that doctors should take a patient's living situation as well as age and other established risk factors into account when assessing his or her risk of heart disease.

They say certain heart disease risk factors may be more common in the lifestyles of people who live alone, such as obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, and making fewer visits to the family doctor, and may help explain the findings.

Lonely Hearts at Risk?

In the study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Danish researchers followed more than 138,000 adults between the ages of 30 and 69 living in one area of Denmark.

During a two-year period, 646 people were diagnosed with heart attack, severe chest pain (angina), or sudden cardiac death. These three manifestations of heart disease are part of a spectrum of conditions known as acute coronary syndrome.

Using information on age, sex, education, and other demographic factors from population registers, researchers found age and living alone were the two strongest predictors of acute coronary syndrome.

Women over age 60 and men over age 50 living alone had the highest risk of death within 30 days of diagnosis of the condition.

For example, women over age 60 who lived alone comprised only about 5% of the study participants but accounted for a third of all deaths. Meanwhile, men over 50 who lived alone comprised under 8% of the study participants and accounted for two-thirds of the heart-related deaths.

Other factors that increased the risk of acute coronary syndrome were poor educational attainment and living on a pension.

Factors that decreased the risk of serious heart disease were living with a partner, a high level of education, and having a job.

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
empty football helmet
red wine
eating blueberries
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Inside A Heart Attack
Omega 3 Sources
Salt Shockers
lowering blood pressure