Mothers of children with Autism might have higher risk of heart disease

SAN FRANCISCO(KRON)—Mothers who are raising children with Autism are more likely to have high cholesterol and a lower level of protective progenitor cells.

These are both factors that can increase people’s chances of getting heart disease.

The study was published Tuesday in the journal of Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

Researchers from the University of California San Francisco studied women between the ages of 20 and 50 with children from 2 to 16 years old.

One group had about 30 mothers raising children with Autism. The other group had about the same number of mothers who have children without the disorder.

Thirty percent of the mothers with autistic children had equal to or higher than the benchmark of 130 mg/dL.

“Children with autism are more likely to engage in behaviors that can be emotionally stressful for mothers, like becoming unpredictably aggressive, biting or hurting themselves, or expressing little affection,” said Kirsten Aschbacher, assistant professor in the UCSF Department of Psychiatry. “Even knowing the challenges these mothers face, we were surprised by the differences in cardiovascular risk.”

The National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Integrative Health funded the study.

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