A recent study has found that the stress associated with raising a child with autism could be linked to the production of lower amounts of cells that help protect our systems from damage.
As parents we all joke around about how our kids are going to kill us one day, but if you are suffering from chronic stress issues due to looking after your child or children, then you may be at risk more than you know.
Researchers at the University of California San Francisco have recently concluded a study where they found that mothers of children with autism that report chronic stress are more likely to have higher levels of bad cholesterol. They also found that the women could have fewer of the cells responsible for helping repair the vascular system, putting the women at a higher risk of heart disease.
There is no denying that children whether they are autistic or not will all cause a certain amount of stress to their parents, but the mothers of autistic children have more challenging behavior and emotional problems to deal with, resulting in higher levels of stress.
To help establish their results, the researchers sought the help of sixty-eight healthy mothers, thirty-one of which had children that were suffering from autism. They carefully interviewed all of the mothers while also checking their levels of stress and taking fasting blood samples. They were testing for circulating hematopoietic progenitor cells, which are responsible for repairing damage to blood vessels and also help to prevent the accumulation of low-density lipoproteins and bad cholesterol.
Among the women the study interviewed and tested, thirty percent of those with autistic children had LDL levels which were above the moderate health risk for heart disease, compared to eight percent of mothers with neurotypical children. The mothers with autistic children also had much lower levels of the circulating progenitor cells, which the researchers link to higher LDL levels and higher risk for heart disease.
Unfortunately, there are no easy or guaranteed methods for lowering stress, but researchers found that some mothers that had positive family interactions did experience lower levels of stress. There is no easy solution for lowering stress, but there are some ways you can help yourself. Classes such as yoga or even going to work out at the gym or with friends could lower your stress levels. Meditation is another good way to lower stress and remember it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. If you enjoyed the article, then please feel free to comment and share.