In So Many Words

Info-Comics by Larry Paros

Loneliness and Health

Zing!...Went the strings of your heart? Just so much hearts and flowers, you say, an American slang phrase; originally the title of a mawkishly sad song popular around 1910. As to the music you hear in the background, it's often played by violinists to a tearful scene, hoping to pluck at our heart.

There's nothing maudlin, however, about a broken heart. Statistics show the expression to be not just a poetic image, but also a medical reality. The lack of human companionship, chronic loneliness, social isolation, and the sudden loss of a loved one are among the leading causes of premature death in the United States.

The effects of human loneliness are related to virtually every disease — whether cancer, pneumonia, or mental illness — and particularly apparent to heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Evidently, millions of Americans are literally dying of broken hearts.

Sorry about that, or should I simply offer my heartfelt apologies?