Tags: heart | disease | stroke | dogs | depression | social isolation

Dog Ownership May Boost Heart Health

Dog Ownership May Boost Heart Health
(Copyright DPC)

Tuesday, 15 March 2016 12:28 PM EDT

Owning a dog may reduce your risk of suffering heart attack or stroke, especially if you live alone, a new study finds.

Several studies have found that people who own dogs have better heart health, which led to the American Heart Association last year issuing a statement attesting to the beneficial effect they can have on their owner’s heart.

Now comes a preliminary Swedish study that finds dog ownership can not only improve cardiovascular health for older people, but that this is especially so for people living alone, who are at higher risk, previous research has shown.

Since 2001, dog owners in Sweden have been required by law to register their dogs, so the researchers examined this national registry to learn how dog ownership was related to new cardiovascular events or mortality.

The researchers compared people who were dog owners with non-dog owners and found that those who did own them were less likely to die of cardiovascular disease – or any cause, for that matter.  Most significantly, they found the benefit to be particularly strong for older people living alone, which is a group traditionally found to be at higher risk of suffering a cardiac event.

Dog owners do more exercise (by walking their dogs), which may contribute to them having better blood pressure, cholesterol profiles and lower risk of diabetes. Other theories may be that dogs tend to reduce the risk of depression, which is also a cardiovascular risk factor, studies have noted.

The research was presented in a poster session at the American Heart Association (AHA) Epidemiology and Prevention and Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health (EPI|Lifestyle) 2016 Scientific Sessions.

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People who live alone are more likely to die from a heart attack or a stroke, it's been found. But now a new study finds that owning a dog may significantly reduce this risk.
heart, disease, stroke, dogs, depression, social isolation
Tuesday, 15 March 2016 12:28 PM
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