Lead author Bob Knight of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, compared a population-based sample of 102 caregivers with 102 non-caregivers -- matched on ethnicity, gender and age. Participants self-reported diseases of the circulatory system and measures of blood pressure.
The study, published in Aging & Mental Health, found diastolic blood pressure was uniquely elevated in African-American caregivers.
Ethnic differences in health, rather than a specific response to caregiving, explain the finding, Knight said.
"If confirmed by future research, this finding is especially important since it points to a specific health risk for African-American caregivers and one not reflected in self-reported health," Knight said in a statement.