DOI: 10.1161/circ.148.suppl_1.16375 ISSN: 0009-7322

Abstract 16375: Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Timing of Diagnosis Among Caregivers in the United States

Tracy T Makuvire, Zara Latif, Haider Warraich
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Introduction: The burden of family caregiving has been increasing in the US. However, caregiver burden may be associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) among adults.

Hypothesis: A higher caregiver burden is associated with an increased risk of CVD.

Methods: Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 2017 and March 2020, we conducted a cross-sectional analysis of US adults. We evaluated the prevalence of CVD, age at diagnosis, and treatment rates of caregivers and non-caregivers. The term "caregivers" refers to adults who reported that they had to stay at home to take care of their families. Outcomes included the average age at first diagnosis, rates of treatment, and average levels of hemoglobin A1c, cholesterol, and triglycerides. Descriptive and analytical statistics were generated using STATA.

Results: Among the 15,560 US adults, 488 were identified as caregivers. Compared to non-caregivers, caregivers were, on average, older (43 vs. 33 years), more likely to be female (93% vs. 49%), Hispanic (34% vs. 22%), born outside the US (51% vs. 18%), and married (79% vs. 56%) (all p<0.001). While there was no difference in hemoglobin A1c, triglyceride, and LDL-cholesterol levels, caregivers were more likely to self-report CVD risk factors at a younger age: diabetes mellitus (44 vs. 49 years), hypertension (42 vs. 47 years), heart failure (37 vs. 57 years), and stroke (42 vs. 57 years) (all p<0.05). Caregivers were less likely to follow lifestyle modifications such as weight loss or taking cholesterol medications. Caregivers had greater odds of being diagnosed with CAD (3.9 [CI 1.7-8.8]), angina (4.4 [CI 1.4-13]), heart attack (4.8 [CI 2.0-12]), and stroke (2.0 [CI 1.2-3.6]). But this association was not significant after adjusting for age, gender, race, and college education.

Conclusion: In this nationally representative sample study, 93% of caregivers were female and had CVD risk factors, such as diabetes and hypertension, detected at younger ages than non-caregivers. A high caregiver burden exposes patients to early CVD risk. As caregiver burden increases, early detection and treatment in this largely female patient population is crucial to reduce sex-related CVD disparities.

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