Stress of Household Chores Make Blood Pressure Leap

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Anxieties and pressures of running a household are equally bad for the heart, claims a new study. According to researchers, the tensions of life are not dispelled when we wind up for the day and head home but tend to mount once we reach there. Apart from dealing with the day-to-day stressors of work, the thought of coping with bills, kids and simple domestic chores send the blood pressure levels leaping. Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine theorize that the boring and repetitive nature of domestic work may be to blame. They stated, “Household chores are notable for their routine nature, often characterized by a relatively low level of challenge and few intrinsic rewards. “This works supports the notion that the relatively important implications for the cardiovascular health of both men and women.”

Blood pressure levels of 113 adults monitored

In order to get an insight into why house hold works add to stress-related blood pressure problems, the researchers conducted a short study. They enrolled a group of 113 men and women who were employed full time but at the same time undertook the responsibility of running the house and maintaining the domestic chores. As a part of the study, all the study subjects provided details of their daily working hours, levels of responsibility they shouldered for running their home, with special emphasis on tasks like cooking, cleaning, mopping floors, and shopping they performed. The participants went for regular blood pressure checks at a local clinic over an observational period of three weeks. They were then asked to wear a blood pressure monitor for a day to record the changes both at work and home at different times of the day.

Findings of the study

The investigators found the risk of high blood pressure was more pronounced in those shouldering the maximum responsibility, especially women. Anxieties related to cleaning, cooking, and shopping elevated the systolic readings by as much as 4.4mmHg. Maintenance and repair of the car and proper management of the household budget raised the pressure readings by 2.64mmHg while paying bills increased them by 1.66mmHg. It was also noted that poor families were more likely to be stressed by household worries than those affluent. However, looking after the kids and pets was not linked to high blood pressure. The researchers theorize that rather than the actual load of chores what stresses people out is how to tackle it. The experts concluded, “The perceived responsibility for household tasks, rather than the time spent doing those tasks, is what’s most distressing.” The findings were published in the journal ‘Psychosomatic Medicine.’


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