So finds a new studypublished in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, in which researchers analyzed data collected from a random sample of 1, people from ages 21 to 99 in San Diego.
Seniors Joseph Batson T So does our ability to respond effectively to other causes of inflammation that have been implicated in age related atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, cancers and dementia. Chronic stress is widely believed to accelerate biologic aging and support comes from studies confirming its adverse effects on immune system function, as well as how we respond to hidden inflammation.
Stress significantly reduces the immune response to influenza and pneumococcal vaccine in the elderly, and to hepatitis B vaccine in younger individuals. The stress of care giving for a spouse or loved one with dementia has also been shown to delay wound healing and shorten life that may be related to effects on inflammation.
Interleukin-6 IL-6 is an important indicator of sublinical inflammation thought to contribute to degenerative diseases.
When such caregivers were followed for six years, it was found that their average IL-6 levels increased Stress and age times more than controls matched for age, sex, health and socioeconomic status.
Furthermore, this increased difference in IL-6 persisted for years after care giving activities ceased, which could speed up the aging process and explain higher death rates. In one study, senior citizens who felt stressed out from taking care of their disabled spouses were 63 percent more likely to die within 4 years than caregivers without this complaint.
In another study that focused on telomere research, spouses and children who provided such constant care shortened their lives by as much as four to eight years! As a cell divides, telomeres shorten and some of these genetic instructions are lost.
An enzyme called telomerase normally prevents this, but as we grow older, our ability to make telomerase decreases, and the protective telomeres become shorter. Thus, telomere length is a basic indicator of Stress and age aging and telomerase activity is a measure of cellular capacity for ongoing replication.
Both of these were shown to be significantly reduced in these Alzheimer caregivers compared to controls. Caregivers also had double the rate of severe depression and prior research has shown that this can increase risk of death by as much as four times when compared with non-depressed controls.
Studies suggest that many of these problems are due to disruption of immune system function, as well as increased inflammation and depression.
Such individuals have weaker immune responses to vaccines, increased susceptibility to infection and delayed wound healing. Inflammation is a normal response to injury and stress that is triggered by the production of chemicals like interleukin What is particularly disturbing is that even when care giving ceased due to the death of a spouse, increased interleukin-6 levels persisted for years, and this could accelerate the aging process.
In another that focused on telomere research, spouses and children who provided such constant care shortened their lives by as much as four to eight years. Some of the early warning signs of caregiver stress are: Identify what you can and cannot change. You may not be able to alter the way somebody else behaves but you can change the way that you react to it.
Make a list of your top priorities and establish a daily routine. Set realistic goals by breaking large tasks into smaller ones that you can do individually when you have time.
Let them choose what is best for them, such as assisting with meals, shopping for groceries, relieving you for a few hours, or taking the patient for a walk once or twice a week.
Try to lighten your load by learning about local care giving resources such as meal delivery, home health care services nursing, physical therapynon medical assistance housekeeping, cooking, companionship or home modification changes that make it easier for patients to bathe, use the toilet or move around.
Social support is a powerful stress buster, and in addition to family and friends, there may be a support group for caregivers in your situation. Joining may allow you to make new friends and also pick up useful tips from others who have had similar problems.
Check with your local Area Agency on Aging for information. Try to find time to be physically active as much as possible, get enough sleep and eat properly.
Make time each week to do something that you enjoy and can look forward to, such as shopping or seeing a movie. If your loved one is not bedridden and does not have dementia, there are emergency response systems button on a necklace, bracelet or belt that they wear that can alert medical personnel and you.
You can use an intercom system to hear someone in another room, or a Webcam video camera that can see them. Mobility monitors can keep track of dementia patients who wear a transmitter strapped to an ankle or wrist that will alert you when they are out of range.
People who take an active, problem-solving approach to any care giving issue are much less likely to feel stressed than those who react by worrying or feeling helpless.
It is also very distressful, even when it is not disabling, so it is not surprising that many patients also suffer from anxiety and depression. A recent review of the literature confirmed that COPD patients had a higher prevalence of anxiety and depression than the general population, some of whom had other chronic diseases.
It also revealed that such stressed out patients had significantly higher death rates. Possible explanations may be that they are less likely to take medications or follow other medical advice, such as engaging in regular exercise.
Depression also encourages smoking and makes it more difficult to stop. COPD patients often do not seek help for their emotional complaints because of the stigma of mental illness and physicians may pay relatively little attention since they also focus on physical complaints.
Primary care clinicians and especially pulmonary specialists report that they do not feel comfortable in diagnosing or treating anxiety and depression since this is not part of their training.Age and Stress Aging can bring on a whole set of stressors.
Those include the illness or death of a spouse, accidents, health problems, unpleasant side effects of certain medications, poor eating habits, inability to sleep, diminishing eyesight or hearing to name but a few.
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Guided by recent theoretical advances in aging theory (Charles, ) that emphasize the importance of context for predicting when and how age is related to affective well-being, the current study examined age differences in emotional responses to everyday stressors.
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