Living alone is preferable for many, but for men, it could spell trouble for their health. According to a new study, men who live alone have a higher risk of inflammation, something that could affect different aspects of their health.

The study was published in the journal BMJ, and it looked at people’s health and their years living alone, analyzing over 4,835 blood samples of people with an average age of 54. Researchers kept track of participants’ breakups since these tend to preclude periods of solo living. While in women researchers found no negative side effects, men showed interesting findings.

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“We have found a significant association between partnership breakups or years lived alone and inflammation for men only, after adjustment for selected confounders,” study author Dr. Karolina Davidsen told CNN. Inflammation can refer to a lot of things, but researchers have found connections between it and people’s nervous system, suggesting that stress can trigger this physical response and increase the odds of heart disease and other adverse conditions.

Dr. Davidsen says that while women didn’t report this finding, one reason for this could be the fact that there were fewer women in the study than men.

Living alone for long periods of time is not something that can be easily corrected, so researchers suggest fighting off these possible negative side effects by maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, like eating healthy and keeping your body moving. Maintaining an eye on your feelings and keeping track of them could also be positive, helping people gauge whether or not they’re feeling lonely, supplementing this with time spent alongside friends and family.

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From a medical standpoint, this information could help health practitioners diagnose and support their patients better. Now that there are scientific studies that show evidence that single men are at higher risk of inflammation when compared to other groups, medical practitioners could advise their patients more accurately and build off of these findings.

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