For caregivers of heart failure patients, challenges mount in rural areas

Photo, split screen with rural and urban areas.
Living in a rural area increases the difficulty of caring for someone with heart failure, according to new research.

An estimated 6.5 million U.S. adults ages 20 and older have heart failure, a serious condition that develops when the heart can’t pump enough blood and oxygen to support other organs in the body. People with heart failure often experience fatigue and shortness of breath, which can make daily activities difficult.

The study, presented recently at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions meeting in Chicago, surveyed 530 caregivers of people with heart failure living in the U.S., Canada and parts of the U.K.

Researchers found that caregiver burden — the stress caregivers perceive about their caretaking role — was three times higher for every extra task that rural caregivers reported compared to urban caregivers.

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