The study of more than 54,000 nurses found that those who cared for grandchildren at least nine hours a week had a 55 percent increased risk of heart attack. It's probably the stress, said researchers.
Though researchers did not look at underlying factors, it is likely that caregivers have so many demands placed on them that they lose time and energy to follow basic preventive health behaviors such as exercising, eating right and getting adequate sleep and take care of themselves.
Research statistics show that about one in seven U.S. women have raised a grandchild for six months or more.
Their team used the Nurses Health Study, a giant, regular survey of nurses that regularly questions them about health, diet and lifestyle. Researchers dip into the data, sorting out trends for a variety of diseases and conditions.
Between 1992 and 1996, there were 321 heart attacks in the group. The nurses who worked as well as taking care of grandchildren did not have a significantly higher risk of heart attack, researchers found.