A new study by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health now reveals that caregiving may be associated with its own health risks. They have found that women who care for a disabled or ill spouse have an increased risk of coronary heart disease. The findings were reported from a long-running Nurses' Health Study, which had collected data on caregiving and coronary heart disease from 54,412 women aged between 46 and 71. They found that those who devoted nine or more hours a week caring for a spouse had an increased risk of heart problems. However, there was no link between caring for other relatives and increased heart disease.
Researchers concluded that a diminished social network and likely emotional stress may be major contributors to the link between caring and heart disease.