Caregiver Stress and Stroke

Friday, April 02, 2010

The stress of taking care of a loved one can be a strain, and not just on that caregivers emotional state. In todays 60 Second Housecall, Dr. Edward Hill discusses a study that looked at a link between caregiver stress and stroke.

Dr. Hill:

Caregivers who find their responsibilities highly stressful may be at increased risk for stroke.

A study by Florida researchers looked at more than 750 people who provide in-home care for an ailing spouse.

Those caregivers who said tending to their ailing spouse caused a lot of strain were 23 percent more likely to have a stroke compared with those who said they felt no strain regarding their responsibilities.

Stroke risk was most pronounced among men, especially African-American men. While men were less likely to report high strain than women, those that reported high strain were at elevated risk for stroke.

Researchers recommended counseling for caregivers to help alleviate their stress as well as receiving more help in providing care from other family members, friends or community agencies, if possible. Some also benefit from going to support groups.

Caregivers can benefit from programs that help them learn ways to feel better prepared to take care of their relative, manage their own stress and get more day to day help in providing care.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.