Being a parent is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding experiences an individual can hope to have. It also, however, can be extremely difficult and stressful. While parents of healthy and able-bodied children often report to feeling tired and stressed, parents of children with physical or developmental disabilities experience these feelings with far greater frequency.
The highs and lows of being responsible for another little human being are something every parent can relate to. There are the precious days and moments you wish would last forever and then the days when illness or temper tantrums rear their ugly heads. For parents of disabled children, however, having a bad day takes on a very different meaning.
Children who suffer from physical disabilities often require extensive medical care and may be at an increased risk for certain medical ailments. Likewise, children with developmental disabilities often need special attention and care. Not only does this place a tremendous amount of financial stress on a parent or care giver, it also takes an enormous emotional toll which can lead to health problems.
The results of a recent study show that parents of disabled children are at a greater risk for developing high blood pressure. For the study, researchers monitored the blood pressure of 35 parents who all have disabled children. While one may expect factors such as a child’s behavior to be the most influential in raising a parent’s blood pressure, results proved otherwise.
The biggest factor in whether or not a parent’s blood pressure rose and remained elevated stemmed from the amount of social support they received. The study’s results illustrate the importance of having a strong social support system and prove the need for ensuring parents of disabled children have access to programs and a strong support system.
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Source: Disability Scoop, “Disability Caregiving Can Be Health Hazard, Study Finds,” Shaun Heasley, Dec. 17, 2012