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Household chores stressful for the heart

Press Trust Of India
Jan 14, 2011 at 02:06pm IST

London: Housewives have long been complaining about it, now a new study has confirmed that running the home is more stressful for your heart than being at work.

The study by scientists from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in the US showed that household chores such as cooking, cleaning, mopping floors and shopping may be even worse for your heart.

The scientists who tested over 100 working men and women and found those who took on most of the responsibility for running the home had significantly higher blood pressure readings than those who left it to their partners.

Household chores stressful for the heart

Study confirms running a home is more stressful on the heart than being at work.

While both men and women suffer from such stress, the study found that tasks such as looking after children or pets had no adverse effect on blood pressure, the Telegraph reported.

The findings suggest that it's not the workload itself but the stress about how to cope with it that causes the damage.

For their study, the researchers recruited 113 men and women in full-time work. Each one provided details on how many hours they worked and what level of responsibility they took on for running the home.

They then underwent regular blood pressure checks at a local clinic over a three-week period, before finally wearing a blood pressure monitor for a day to track changes at work and home.

The results showed those taking on most of the responsibility at home, primarily women, were at greater risk of high blood pressure.

Household chores increased systolic readings by as much as 4.4mmHg, taking care of house or car repairs by 2.64mmHg and paying bills by 1.66mmHg.

Poorer families were more likely to be affected than better off ones.

Although some research suggests vigorous housework may be good for the heart, the researchers believe the repetitive nature of cleaning, for example, may add to stress-related blood pressure problems rather than alleviate them.

Reporting their findings in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, they said: "The perceived responsibility for household tasks, rather than the time spent doing those tasks, is what s most distressing."

According to the scientists, the strongest link with high blood pressure came from worries over how to get domestic chores done, such as cleaning, cooking and shopping.

Next came car maintenance and repair, paying the bills and keeping on top of the household budget.

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