Mood, lifestyle and cardiovascular risk factors among older caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease dementia: a case–control study

Abstract

Background

Caregivers may have a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and have high rates of anxiety and depression.

Aims

The objective of this study was to evaluate mood, lifestyle and the presence of cardiovascular risk factors in older women caregivers of patients with Alzheimer´s disease (AD) dementia compared to non-caregivers living in the neighborhood.

Methods

Paired case–control (1:1). Volunteers responded to a questionnaire with information about physical and leisure activities, smoking, alcohol use, and daily hours of care. Blood pressure (BP) was measured on 5 days with the Home Blood Pressure Monitoring (HBPM) system, and mood was assessed with the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) and Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI). Laboratory testing for cardiovascular risk factors was performed.

Results

Sixty-two volunteers were evaluated. Total cholesterol levels were higher among caregivers, with an odds ratio (OR) of 3.57 (95% CI 1.2–11, p = 0.03). There was no difference in BP. A positive screening for depression was obtained for 58% of caregivers and for 16% of control subjects (OR = 6.62, 95% CI 1.9–22.6, p < 0.01). The MINI revealed that 38.7% of caregivers had an actual depressive episode as compared to 9.7% of controls (9.7%) (OR = 5.42, 95% CI 1.3–22.7, p = 0.02); 35.5% of caregivers and 6% of controls had a diagnosis of anxiety disorder (OR = 4.79, 95% CI 1.2–19.1, p = 0.03).

Discussion

The cardiovascular risk markers and lifestyle were similar in caregivers and non-caregivers, but there was a higher prevalence of depression and anxiety among caregivers.

Conclusions

Older women caregivers of patients with AD have more mental health symptoms and disorders and need to be treated.

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Correspondence to Nereida K. C. Lima.

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Statement of human and animal rights

The study was approved by the local Research Ethics Committee (Protocol: 15538913.5.0000.5414). All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Madaleno, T.R., Moriguti, J.C., Ferriolli, E. et al. Mood, lifestyle and cardiovascular risk factors among older caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease dementia: a case–control study. Aging Clin Exp Res 31, 1609–1614 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40520-019-01212-8

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Keywords

  • Caregivers
  • Older women
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Mood