New Delhi: Singer Akon's got it right! Being lonely does you no good. And American researchers have recently found that being lonely could be as bad for your health as smoking or obesity. Loneliness is not just going to make you feel low, but when compared to socially active people, researchers at the University of Chicago, found that the loneliest people were 3 times more likely to develop heart disease and stroke and twice as likely to die from them as people with normal blood pressure. “There is no direct connection how loneliness can raise your blood pressure, but indirectly it does. Loneliness leads to stress and depression, and that impacts your physical well being.,” says Samir Malhotra, Psychiatrist. In fact high levels of stress hormone Cortisol can also suppress your immune system making you vulnerable or prone to diseases. The lonely were also found to also sleep more fitfully, feel lethargic during the day and are more likely to rely on sleeping tablets. And even speed the progression of dementia. And it could even lead to alterations in one's behaviour. “These findings become much more relevant in the times that we live in today, where many people communicate through the internet rather than face-to-face,” adds Samir Malhotra. So the next time your friends call, don't cut that call make it a priority to take it and make sure you do catch up for that cup of coffee.