Medicine

Dog at home means longer life, better heart health

Dog at home means longer life, better heart health

They found dog owners, when compared to non-owners, had a 24 percent reduced risk of "all-cause mortality", a 65 percent reduced risk of death after a heart attack, and a 31 reduced risk of mortality "due to cardiovascular-related issues".

In the first study, researchers compared the health outcomes of dog owners and non-owners after a heart attack or stroke using data from the Swedish National Patient Register.

"Dog ownership", the authors conclude, "is associated with lower risk of death over the long term, which is possibly driven by a reduction in cardiovascular mortality". But even the most effusive dog-lovers might not realize just how beneficial their pets can be.

"Dog possession", the authors impact, "is associated with lower likelihood of loss of life over the long period of time, which is perchance pushed by a low cost in cardiovascular mortality".

"The most interesting part of this study was that people who lived alone actually seem to get the greatest benefit in both the heart attack group and the stroke group", said pet owner Dr. Martha Gulati, who is the editor-in-chief of CardioSmart.org, the American College of Cardiology's patient education platform. "Maybe it's not the dog itself, it's that people already have a healthier lifestyle before".

In the past, studies have shown that having a dog alleviates the symptoms of social isolation. Solitary people typically don't exercise, but having a dog forces people to go outside and have a walk at least once per day.

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A separate study of more than 336,000 Swedish men and women, also published Tuesday in "Circulation", likewise found people who owned dogs had better health outcomes after suffering a major cardiovascular event such as heart attack or stroke.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sees the health value in dog ownership. "Furthermore, keeping a dog is a good motivation for physical activity, which is an important factor in rehabilitation and mental health". Are they healthier or wealthier?

One study discovered that "the act of petting a dog reduces blood pressure as much as medication to treat hypertension", Kramer said.

Owning a dog may not only enable you to have companionship and live a happier life but could also help you live longer. One of the larger studies included in the review controlled for a variety of socio-economic and demographic factors and found that the longevity effect of dog ownership remained.

Aloof, Kazi writes, the stability of the evidence to this level convinces him that "the affiliation between dog possession and improved survival is right, and is seemingly a minimal of partly causal". It might be possible, for instance, that doctors might someday prescribe ownership of a dog to certain vulnerable patients, based on a new evidence-based policy.


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