CJOB recently asked Fahmi Farah, M.D. to come on the air to discuss the recent findings by the U.S. Surgeon General that widespread loneliness is as deadly as smoking up to 15 cigarettes daily. Dr. Farah, an invasive cardiologist based in Texas, stated that he was not surprised by the news as depression and anxiety have been known to increase morbidity rates in patients. Dr. Farah further explains that loneliness is one of the key factors that lead to depression and mental health disorders. There is no one metric to measure loneliness, but lifestyle plays a key role. Someone who is lonely and lacks a partner to come home to has a reduced quality of life and is less motivated to live in a healthy way. They’re less inclined to make healthy choices and exercise regularly. And, if they’re depressed and tend to isolate themselves, motivation to take prescribed medication may be low and thus they may not be very compliant.✔️
Dr. Farah stresses the need for physicians to go a step further and ask about the social environment of patients. By addressing their support system, physicians can implement ways to guide them and improve their social lives which could help in the management of the condition and counteract its impact on their overall wellbeing. Dr. Farah brings to light the need to understand the root cause of an individual’s health problem, both physical and emotional, to determine the best course of treatment. It’s all interconnected!