Tags: Health Topics | Heart Disease | High Blood Pressure | dog | pets | good | heart

Dr. Dog: Why Pets Are Good for Your Heart

By    |   Tuesday, 19 Jul 2016 04:15 PM

Owning a pet can surely warm a person’s heart. But research also has shown that pets are good for the health of our hearts.

Humans have enjoyed the companionship of animals as pets for thousands of years. In fact, records dating back 12,000 years show that animals were kept as pets, reports History World, proving an ancient connection between the hearts of humans and animals.

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According to the American Heart Association, heart disease continues to be the No. 1 cause of death worldwide with 17.3 million deaths each year. This number is predicted to increase to more than 23.6 million deaths by 2030. Specifically, heart disease remains the No. 1 cause of death in the United Stated, with more than 375,000 deaths each year.

In addition to eating a whole-foods diet, increasing daily physical activity, and decreasing stress levels, one of the best and natural ways to improve heart health is through pet ownership, according to the American Heart Association.

In one Japanese study measuring the effects pets — specifically dogs — have on heart health, data showed that dog owners were 54 percent more likely to get the recommended daily level of physical activity versus nonowners.

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The AHA says pet ownership also may decrease blood pressure, heart rate, cortisol, and cholesterol levels. Heart health may improve due to the social support provided by pets or the adoption of a healthier lifestyle (i.e. daily walking).

Pets offer companionship and emotional connection that ultimately have a positive effect on the heart, says Dr. Joseph Mercola. They can offer unconditional love and a sense of family that potentially increases self-esteem, sociability, and an overall sense of satisfaction in humans. Additionally, induced calm from a pet's presence is beneficial to heart health.

The American Heart Association advises people not to run out to adopt a pet for the sole purpose of preventing heart disease or other heart-related problems. While they recognize that pet ownership may boost heart health, they caution that pets should only be adopted with the intent to provide a loving home for the pet and for the sheer enjoyment of mutual companionship.

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Owning a pet can surely warm a person's heart. But research also has shown that pets are good for the health of our hearts.
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Tuesday, 19 Jul 2016 04:15 PM
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