March 13, 2008
Attention, Caregivers: Don’t Forget Your Own Cardiovascular Health
A study from New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center suggests that when a loved one is hospitalized for heart disease, their caregivers may be at higher risk for heart disease as well.
Researchers evaluated 501 people who had a relative who was hospitalized for coronary issues and found that 39 percent of the participants were their caregivers and they were mostly married women over the age of 50. This same group also reported some risks factors—diets high in saturated fat, large waist-to-hip ratios, high stress and depression.
The good news? That with a little motivation, support from others and lifestyle changes, their health turned around. “It’s important that we develop more systematic approaches to identifying caregivers, educating them and providing them with the proper support systems,” Lori Mosca, MD, PhD, the study’s lead author, told Web MD. “If a caregiver dies of a heart attack, it’s not going to help the cardiac patient.”
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