Women, but not men, who live in households with a spouse, children, and parents have double the risk for a coronary event, such as a heart attack or need for heart surgery, compared with women who live only with a spouse, according to research from Japan.
Stress may play a role in this increased risk, as about a quarter of the women living in a three-generation household or living with a spouse and parent reported high stress.
Fewer women were highly stressed when they lived alone, with a spouse, or with a spouse and child, Professor H. Iso and colleagues report in the journal Heart.
Iso, of Osaka University, and colleagues assessed coronary heart disease events and deaths in relation to the living arrangements reported by nearly 91 000 Japanese men and women who were 40 to 69 years old.
What the study found
Over 11 years of follow-up, Iso's team noted no significant impact on CHD incidence among the men in the study. However, among the women, those living in three-generation households had twice the risk for heart-related events as women living only with a spouse.
Moreover, women living with spouses and parents had triple the risk for heart problems compared with women living only with a spouse.
These findings are relevant for Japanese health policy, Iso and colleagues surmise, particularly in light of the increasing female workforce, the declining marriage rate, and the rapid aging of the population in Japan. – (Reuters Health, March 2009)
The sandwich generation