Caregivers neglect their own health, increasing heart disease risk
People acting as caregivers for family members with cardiovascular disease may inadvertently increase their own risk for heart disease by neglecting their own health, according to a new study in the American Journal of Health Promotion.
"Our research shows that the potential increased risk posed by caregiving may be associated with lifestyle habits such as poor diet and decreased physical activity. And those with the highest level of strain from caregiving were at higher risk," said Lori Mosca, M.D., professor of medicine and director of preventive cardiology at Columbia Medical Center in New York.
In addition to the fact that many caregivers share similar lifestyle habits and genes as their family members, the act of caregiving itself is associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk. More than one-half of hospitalized cardiovascular disease patients plan to have an informal caregiver, such as a spouse or other family member, assist them.
Researchers followed 423 caregivers for a year after their family member was hospitalized for cardiovascular disease at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center between January 2005 and June 2007. Caregivers self-reported their lifestyle habits for twelve months after their loved one was hospitalized.
Primary caregivers who reported feeling overwhelmed or burdened by time demands, sleep disturbances, financial strain or upsetting behavior by their family member were less likely to report eating a heart-healthy diet or to engage in moderate exercise in the year following a family member's hospital release. "Caregivers often neglect their health as a result of the demands of caregiving. This neglect is most likely one of the pathways which high rates of morbidity and early mortality become associated with caregiving," said Richard Birkel, Ph.D., senior vice president for health at the National Council on Aging in Washington, D.C.
Birkel said the study confirms what is known about the often unhealthy burden of personal caregiving. "Caregivers need to ask for help, take time for personal activities like exercise and relaxation, maintain a good diet and do two things not mentioned in the study—don't smoke and keep alcohol intake moderate," he said.
Mosca added that the critical point is when a family member is discharged from the hospital. "That time frame is a red flag for caregivers to take preventive action to avoid developing adverse lifestyle behaviors as they cope with the demand of helping their loved one."
More emphasis should be placed on coping mechanisms, depression and stress, she said. "These factors will strongly influence whether or not lifestyle education will be adhered to and if efforts to achieve healthy lifestyles are successful."
More information: Mochari-Greenberger, H. and Mosca, Lori. (2012). Caregiver Burden and Nonachievement of Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors Among Family Caregivers of Cardiovascular Disease Patients, American Journal of Health Promotion, In Press.
Journal reference: American Journal of Health Promotion
Provided by Health Behavior News Service
- Caregivers of veterans with chronic illnesses often stressed, yet satisfied: study Mar 08, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- USC study examines effects of caregiving Oct 18, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Family caregiving stress filled and isolating Apr 22, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- New study finds caregivers of spouses with dementia enjoy life less Aug 12, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Study shows hospice caregivers need routine care interventions Nov 30, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke in early childhood are more likely to grow up to physically aggressive and antisocial, regardless of whether they were exposed during pregnancy or their parents have a history ...
Health 25 minutes ago | 1 / 5 (1) | 0
Most elite athletes consider doping substances "are effective" in improving performance, while recognising that they constitute cheating, can endanger health and entail the obvious risk of sanction. At the same time, the ...
Health 1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
Authorities are investigating rice mills in southern China following tests that found almost half of the staple grain in one of the country's largest cities was contaminated with a toxic metal.
Health 4 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
The warning images Brussels proposes to include on tobacco packages in order to reduce consumption do not make the desired impact on smokers because they only find some of them really unpleasant. So, if the ...
Health 5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Ten years after the Iraq war of 2003 a team of scientists based in Mosul, northern Iraq, have detected high levels of uranium contamination in soil samples at three sites in the province of Nineveh which, coupled with dramatically ...
Health 5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Despite spending billions of dollars on research and development, drug companies have been unable to come up with effective treatments for dementia and Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Now, A. ...
2 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
You're standing near an airport luggage carousel and your bag emerges on the conveyor belt, prompting you to spring into action. How does your brain make the shift from passively waiting to taking action when ...
41 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Widely available in pharmacies and health stores, phosphatidylserine is a natural food supplement produced from beef, oysters, and soy. Proven to improve cognition and slow memory loss, it's a popular treatment for older ...
1 hour ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Native peoples in regions where cameras are uncommon sometimes react with caution when their picture is taken. The fear that something must have been stolen from them to create the photo ...
2 hours ago | 3.5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Australian scientists have charted the path of insulin action in cells in precise detail like never before. This provides a comprehensive blueprint for understanding what goes wrong in diabetes.
2 hours ago | 4.5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Researchers at Emory University have identified a protein that stimulates a pair of "orphan receptors" found in the brain, solving a long-standing biological puzzle and possibly leading to future treatments for neurological ...
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0 |