Social Relationships Contribute to Long, Healthy Lives

Connection to a sense of purpose, community, and belonging has profound impact on a patient's health and mental well-being. Building and maintaining meaningful social relationships can reduce stress and has been shown to accompany the adoption of healthier lifestyle behaviors. While this area of health may often be overlooked, relationships are just as critical as exercise, nutrition, or sleep. Some research even touts the effect of strong relationships on improving longevity and life expectancy. Maintaining social relationships and support may help patients start and sustain positive improvements in their health and is an important consideration for lifestyle change. 


Those with strong social relationships have a 50% increased likelihood of survival against chronic disease.1
In post-menopausal women, social isolation and loneliness may increase cardiovascular disease risk by up to 27%.2
Poor social relationships are associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke compared to those with strong social connections.3
Aging adults with lower social engagement are 59% more likely to experience cognitive decline and impairment.3

+ References

Watch functional medicine experts discuss relationships

Robert Luby, MD
Social Support, Stress, and Cardiac Health

Discover the key to optimized health with Lifestyle: The Foundations of Functional Medicine>

This course explores the evidence-base and clinical applications of modifiable lifestyle factors.
Take a closer look at how the factors below affect the body: