Household chores `worse for heart’

Last Updated: Jan 14, 2011, 14:17 PM IST

London: Forget workplace pressure, it`s the stress of running a household that sends blood pressure soaring, suggests a new study.

The research shows that simple household chores from cleaning and cooking to carrying out repairs and budgeting can increase stress levels and blood pressure.

It suggests that the stresses and strains of modern life do not end when we leave work for the day.

Instead, the pressure continues to mount up when we return home.

For the study, scientists from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine recruited 113 men and women in full-time work.

Each one provided details on how many hours they worked, what level of responsibility they took on for running the home and the chores they did.

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 that regardless of the amount of housework actually done, those who felt they were shouldering the responsibility were at the greatest risk of high blood pressure.

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

“The perceived responsibility for household tasks, rather than the time spent doing those tasks, is what’s most distressing,” a daily quoted the authors as saying.

The study has been published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

ANI