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Social isolation and cardiovascular risk in older Australians

Dr Rosanne Freak-Poli, Institution: Monash University

2017 Postdoctoral Fellowship

Years funded: 2018-2022


A conservative estimate is that 11,000 socially isolated older Australians will suffer from a cardiovascular disease event this year.

Social isolation has been identified as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, yet our understanding of key drivers of this association is limited.

This project aims to provide an understanding of social isolation and its impact upon cardiovascular disease within a contemporary Australian context by utilising pre-existing longitudinal data for 14,909 older Australians.

The cohort was initially healthy and free from cardiovascular disease at baseline, enabling evaluation of the independent influence of social isolation upon cardiovascular disease incidence, and examination of the impact of other co-morbidities and socio-demographic factors.

This project expects to provide significant benefits by informing our understanding of the relation between social isolation and cardiovascular disease, and identifying potential solutions for specific demographic and geographic high-risk groups.

The outcomes of this project will build the foundation for future intervention work and inform policy shaping how an understanding of social isolation can be built into our current cardiovascular disease prevention and management practices to enhance their effectiveness.

Key benefits from this project include: reducing cardiovascular disease in socially isolated settings, encouraging independence at older age, prioritising resource use and improving quality of life.

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