Are single mothers at risk?
Balancing child care, career goals and health can be very difficult for any parent, but it can be ever more challenging if you are a single parent. In fact, a recent study found that single mothers are at a higher risk for heart disease or stroke.
“Being a parent is incredible and rewarding,” says Dr. Farah Hussain, medical director of cardiology at Advocate Dreyer in Aurora, Ill. “It is also very stressful, especially if you are the only one in the household. Single parents have tremendous responsibility, but they aren’t invincible; they need to make sure they care for themselves.”
For single parents, self-care can prove very difficult when their focus is on so many other issues. The study revealed that having a partner to help with children and even financial relief can help alleviate some of the pressure and stress. Compared to married mothers, single mothers were 1.4 times more likely to be at risk for heart disease and 1.7 times more likely to suffer a stroke.
“Women invest an incredible amount of time and energy caring for and nurturing their children; however, they often forget to take the time to care for their own health,” says Dr. Hussain. In order to help relax and reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke, Dr. Hussain recommends you try incorporating the following habits into your life:
- Take time for yourself – Everyone needs time to relax. Whatever helps you feel calm after a long day, try and take 10 to 30 minutes to do it so you can unwind.
- Exercise – People often let this go because they say there isn’t enough time. But it is one of the most important things you can do for a healthy heart.
- Diet – You may not need to lose weight, but pay attention to what you eat. Your diet affects your heart health, so recognize the good and bad that you are eating.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.