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Can Social Interactions and Relationships Improve Health?

Social relationships and interactions are key components of what it means to be human. But did you know that there is a positive correlation between social interaction and health? In fact, the link between the two may become even more important as we age.

Studies indicate that social relationships are associated with biomarkers for health. Also, loneliness and isolation, on the other hand, are known to have adverse health effects on people - especially the elderly. Therefore, social relationships play an important part in the medical field, including pain management.

How Do Relationships Affect Health?

Relationships and social ties influence health in three main ways: behavioral, psychosocial, and physiological.

Behavioral

Health behaviors include exercising, diet, and adhering to medical advice and routines. Our social ties, culture, and relationships can affect how we view these behavior and how much of a priority we put on them. Take a mother, for example, who works hard to feed her children a healthy diet and to facilitate healthy habits such as brushing teeth and playing outside.

Psychosocial

Psychosocial relates to our psychological development in a social context. Social support is one kind of psychosocial mechanism that can promote health. When you feel cared for or loved, you often feel less stressed. Stress can have a negative impact on your health and can increase your perception of pain. Studies have shown that many health problems are related to stress - such as heart disease, obesity, depression, headaches, and diabetes.

Physiological

Physiological relates to how our bodies and their systems work. Social ties and interactions can have a physical effect on our bodies. For example, strong supportive environments help promote healthy immune systems, metabolic systems, and nervous systems in children.

Quality of the Relationship

It is important to note that the quality of your social ties and relationships matters. It’s not just enough to have social ties. Poor and strained relationships can lead to stress, poor health habits, and decreased immune function.

Links between Social Interaction and Good Health

Social Interaction & Inflammation

One interesting study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that older women who had good social relationships had lower levels of interleukin-6. Interleukin-6 is a protein produced by our immune cells and is a inflammatory factor involved in diseases such as Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease.

Social Relationships & Mortality

Studies have shown that those with more social involvement and more social ties were less likely to die than those with fewer. In fact, one study found that socially isolated adults with coronary disease were at a 2.4 times greater risk of cardiac death than more socially connected adults.  

Social Ties and Pain Management

The ultimate goal of pain management is to increase the quality of life and wellbeing on all levels. Improving both the physical and mental health of a pain management patient is crucial for an effective treatment plan. Chronic pain conditions can be made worse by stress, emotions, bad health habits, and other changes in the body. Since positive social interactions and relationships can help reduce stress and promote healthy habits and healthy body systems, these are factors that should not be overlooked.

If you are looking for a Las Vegas pain management doctor, contact Apex Medical Center. You can call for an appointment or book online. We have three convenient locations in Las Vegas and Henderson.

Author
Apex Medical Center

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