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Caring for family member with cancer may increase heart health risk factors

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Individuals who are caring for a family member with cancer may want to consider seeking cholesterol testing for themselves. New research has found that these individuals experience high rates of coronary artery disease and stroke.

The researchers said that numerous prior studies have shown that people who care for a family member with cancer are more likely to suffer from mental problems, such as depression or stress. However, the finding that these individuals also have higher rates of cardiovascular problems is new.

In the study, researchers from the Center for Primary Healthcare Research in Malmo, Sweden examined data from the country's patient and caregiver registries. The results showed that individuals caring for a family member with cancer were between 13 and 29 percent more likely to develop coronary artery disease or suffer a stroke.

The team said that lifestyle risk factors such as an unhealthy diet or smoking may be shared by multiple family members. This could cause one to develop cancer and another to experience cardiovascular problems. However, they concluded that the majority of the association was attributable to the stress associated with caring for someone with cancer.

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