Humans are social creatures. Even the most introverted person needs to feel a connection to other people. It’s often thought that loneliness is predominantly a psychological issue. But increasingly, researchers are discovering that chronic loneliness can be associated with numerous physical health risks. Additionally, loneliness and depression often go together. If you’re experiencing these mental health challenges, you should know that life doesn’t have to be this way. Reach out for help. At Los Robles Regional Medical Center, our compassionate healthcare providers genuinely care about your quality of life, and we’ll do everything possible to support you.
Type 2 diabetes
Chronic loneliness and type 2 diabetes are linked. People who are chronically lonely and depressed may be more likely to make poor lifestyle choices, which can contribute to an increased risk of diabetes. These poor lifestyle choices may include:
- Choosing sugary, fatty foods
- Getting takeout or convenience food instead of preparing meals
- Avoiding exercise
- Having difficulty staying motivated to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
Additionally, it’s possible that loneliness can make diabetes worse in people who already have this disease. People with depression and chronic loneliness may be less likely to monitor their blood glucose levels carefully and take their medications as directed.
Cognitive decline in the elderly
Chronic loneliness and depression are associated with changes in hormone levels and changes in gene expression. These changes may contribute to cognitive problems , especially among the elderly. Seniors who are lonely may have:
- An increased risk of developing dementia
- An accelerated cognitive decline
- An increased risk of confusion and forgetfulness
More research is needed in this area, but it’s also thought that chronic loneliness may trigger systemic inflammation, which is harmful for brain health.
Increased alcohol consumption
People who are chronically lonely and depressed are more likely to self-medicate with excessive amounts of alcohol. This can lead to short-term risks, such as the potential for accidents, falls and alcohol poisoning. It may also lead to long-term health risks, such as the following:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
Los Robles Regional Medical Center attracts top physicians and nurses, thanks to our reputation as a patients-first hospital. We provide specialized medical services, while always maintaining our commitment to compassionate, family-centered care. Call our hospital in Thousand Oaks at (877) 888-5746.
There’s no such thing as a healthy tan, and the same applies to sunburn. Even a few bad sunburns can dramatically raise your lifetime risk of developing melanoma—the deadliest type of skin cancer. At Los Robles Regional Medical Center, we encourage our neighbors throughout Thousand Oaks to prioritize their health and stock up on sunscreen this summer.
When to go to a doctor for sunburn
Most cases of sunburn can be treated at home. However, you’ll need to see a doctor promptly if your sunburn covers a large area of skin or it doesn’t start getting better within two days. A doctor should also evaluate your sunburn if you experience any of the following symptoms.
- High fever
- Extreme pain
Monitor the sunburn for signs of an infection, and see a doctor if you notice any of them. Signs of an infection can include:
- Worsening pain
- Drainage or pus
- Red streaks on the skin
- Worsening tenderness and swelling
What to do after developing sunburn
Once you notice that you’re developing sunburn, go inside immediately to prevent further damage. Take a cool shower or bath to cool off your skin.
Apply cool compresses to your injured skin. Take a clean cloth, dip it in cold water and wring out the excess water. Drape the cloth over your sunburned skin.
After removing the compresses, moisturize your skin while it’s still damp. Use a gentle, creamy lotion and apply liberal amounts of it to the damaged skin. Avoid using oil-based or petroleum lotions.
Unless you have medical contraindications, you could also take an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug to manage the discomfort and inflammation. Follow the product directions carefully.
How to help your skin recover
During the coming days, continue to monitor the sunburned skin for signs of an infection or other indicators that you need to see a doctor. Otherwise, you can continue to treat the sunburn at home by keeping your skin moisturized and staying out of the sun.
You may also find relief by applying aloe vera gel or an over-the-counter cortisone cream. Remember to drink plenty of fluids while your skin heals.
From acute injuries to chronic diseases, we can handle it all here at Los Robles Regional Medical Center. Our hospital in Thousand Oaks is a state-of-the-art medical facility that offers numerous specialty services, all delivered with an emphasis on personalized, superior care. If you’d like a referral to a doctor or specialist, call one of our friendly registered nurses at (877) 888-5746.