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Taking care of a family member, caregiving, does not impact your health

Created by Timothy Paustian on Jul 13, 2020, 2:58 PM

 

In the U.S. it is estimated that at least 17 million people care for loved ones with significant health problems. For years there has been a concern in the medical community that taking care of a family member with a chronic illness (Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, other dementias, etc.) takes a health toll on the caregiver. Recent research by Professor David Roth and coworkers of John Hopkins University School of Medicine took another look at the risks associated with caregiving. An increase in certain inflammation biomarkers are correlated with loneliness, depression, suppressed immunity, cancer, and increased mortality. A comparison of these inflammation biomarkers in caregivers vs. a matched control group indicated no difference. Caregiving did not increase inflammation. Also, Roth remarks in the article

Family caregiving, appears to have minimal effects on physical health for most caregivers, and may even be associated with some health benefits similar to those sometimes attributed to volunteerism, such as a lower mortality rate

This should give comfort to anyone providing or needing care.