john Posted July 15, 2003 Share Posted July 15, 2003 from drweil.com THE STRESS OF CAREGIVING Being a caregiver may cause stress and impaired health. According to a report in the July 4th issue of the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences," stress from caring for a spouse with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia resulted in health problems. Researchers studied 223 healthy elders ranging in age from 55 to 89, over six years. Of the participants, the 117 who were caring for a partner who had dementia had markedly higher blood levels of interleukin 6 (IL-6), a molecule that can weaken the immune system and promote inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, frailty, and certain cancers. The elders who were not caring for an ill spouse had levels of IL-6 that were four times lower. While IL-6 levels normally go up with age, the difference between the two groups was enough to warrant a closer look. Researchers say the findings suggest that a chronic stressor, such as caring for a debilitated family member, can significantly augment normal age-related increases, resulting in the premature aging of the immune system. The best way to reduce the stress and health issues that accompany caretaking? Researchers say doing more to relieve the stress of caregivers will help to stop premature aging and subsequent illness. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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