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Welcome to the Health Defence Blog - a blog about health, wellness and a healthier you. Brought to you by the Health Defence team at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, you'll find up-to-date information on a range of topics from what's in your food to the latest advice on e-cigarettes!


Guest blogger: Wendy Armitage - CHSS Head of Cardiac & Respiratory Services

October 2, 2016

Loneliness is not about being alone, it’s about the sense that no one cares. Read on to find out how you can help someone who is feeling lonely and where to get additional support.

Most of us experience periods of loneliness

Normally we cope until life takes a different turn, we find ourselves drifting into new activities, or being caught up in other people’s lives. It is when loneliness becomes a long term state, that creates negative thoughts and feelings about ourselves and others, that it becomes a problem which truly influences our quality of life.

Persistent loneliness has been shown to be harmful to health. It increases the risk of low mood and depression, has negative effects on both our immune and cardiovascular systems and frequently leads to lifestyles which can impact on our long term well-being, such as over-eating, drinking too much alcohol, or simply avoiding the things that we used to enjoy.

Loneliness can affect anyone, but one group very susceptible to loneliness is older people, particularly if they are living with long term conditions such as chest or heart illness, or disabilities such as those caused by a stroke. The sad fact is, for some people, the impact of loneliness is considered a greater source of distress than the medical condition itself.

So what can you do?

One of the biggest challenges is identifying those who are feeling lonely. Often people are too embarrassed to say that they would like some company, or don’t want to bother others who appear to be busy or fully involved in their own lives.

So I offer you this challenge, an opportunity to make a difference, an opportunity to show you care.

Simply talk to someone today. Ask them how they are? Ask them about their day?

You just never know the difference you might make.


To chat confidentially to our Advice Line Nurses, call 0808 801 0899 (free from landlines and mobiles) Monday to Friday 9:30 – 4pm.

For further support, contact one of the CHSS support services:

Stroke Rehabilitation Support Services 

CHSS Stroke Rehabilitation Support Services provide support for anyone who has had a stroke as they leave hospital, return home and resume daily life.

The aim of the service is to help you to overcome or cope with the damage caused by your stroke so that you can focus on enjoying life again.  You will be helped to relearn or adapt skills so that you can be as independent as possible.

Depending on where you live, our services range from communication support for people who are finding it difficult to speak, read, write or understand what other people are saying through to services for people affected in different ways such as problems with movement, vision, memory or thinking.

To find out what services are available in your local area, call our Advice Line Nurses on 0808 801 0899.

Peer Support Groups

CHSS Peer Support Groups allow people to talk with others who understand what they’re going through.  They allow people to share experiences and ideas on how to live with their condition. 

  • Our Peer Support Groups offer people a wide range of support including exercise, social activities and an opportunity to talk with others who may understand the condition. All group members have a say in how the group is run. 
  • The groups are affiliated to Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland and receive support from a Peer Support Group Worker.
  • Groups may only focus on a single condition whilst others support two or all of the conditions.

Find out more by selecting one of the links below:

Chest Support Groups – for people living with respiratory (lung) conditions

Heart Support Groups – for people living with cardiac (heart) conditions

Stroke Support Groups – for people who have had a stroke

***Disclaimer: always seek medical advice before starting a new diet, exercise regime or medication. The information in these articles is not a substitute for professional advice from a GP, registered dietitian or other health practitioner.

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