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    LONELINESS – A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | January 29th, 2018

    LONELINESS – A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS

    This past Tuesday morning, I received a text message from a friend visiting Columbus:

    Want to walk this Saturday?

    I replied,

    I cannot walk in the cold, but you can be my guest at the body pump class they have at the Y.

    We indeed met at the Y, took the body pump class, had breakfast and then she came to my house and we chatted for a while.

    When she left, I thought about what I heard earlier in the week on National Public Radio’s show On PointLoneliness is an epidemic and has become a public health crisis.  I was shocked to hear that loneliness was associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day. On the show, they referred to an article written by Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy, the former Surgeon General of the United States titled Work and the Loneliness Epidemic. In the article he mentioned that 40% of adults in America report feeling lonely and that research suggests that the real number maybe higher. Loneliness is also associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression and anxiety. Loneliness is associated with a poor quality of life.

    Loneliness can affect anyone regardless of gender, age, race, or socioeconomic status. We all experience loneliness some time in our life and it is usually brief. When the feeling of loneliness is a dominant part of our life, it can have serious health consequences.

    Being connected on social media does not mean that you cannot feel lonely.  You can have 1000 friends on Facebook and still be lonely because you have not truly developed a meaningful relationship with those friends.

    The good news is that loneliness is a solvable problem. We need to be in the presence of people. I am grateful that my friend came into town and she reached out to me and we were able to actually see each other.

    It is important to carve out time to be with people and when possible to reach out and help people. It is truly the antidote to loneliness.

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    Secure Your Copy of Letters to My Sisters by Dr. Ngozi Osuagwu.
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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

    The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.




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