Owning a dog may lower your risk of an early death

Owning a dog may lower your risk of an early death

How about living longer?

"At the time when I started work on this, I'd had my dog for a year and I noticed that I was walking way more", Kramer said. Caroline Kramer, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and endocrinologist with Mount Sinai Hospital, adding that the results are "very positive". Caroline Kramer, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and an endocrinologist in NY.

People who lived alone after a heart attack or stroke saw the greatest upside. "Previous studies have indicated that dog owners experience less social isolation and have more interaction with other people", said Tove Fall, D.

While having a four-legged friend is good for all, the analysis found those who already suffered a heart attack or stroke may benefit the most from a companion animal.

Heart attacks and stroke are the leading causes of death globally, according to the World Health Organization. For heart attack survivors, the risk of death was reduced by 33% if they came home to a dog, and only by 15% if a partner or children were waiting for them at home.

"Our findings suggest that having a dog is associated with longer life". Comparatively, stroke survivors living alone who also owned a dog had a 27 percent lower risk compared to those who did not.

Although both studies are observational and would require a clinical trial to be proven, the AHA marks the findings as significant.

"Is it the dog or is it the behaviors?"

Why are dogs so good for a solitary person's health? "We don't know those things".

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The clinician scientist noted that her team's analysis didn't account for variables that may explain the difference in health outcomes between dog owners and the rest of the population.

"One study, my favorite, found just the effect of petting a dog can reduce your blood pressure as much as a medication", Kramer said.

"Dogs not only provide comfort and companionship, but several studies have found that dogs decrease stress and promote relaxation", the CDC says. That's especially important after a major illness, such as a heart attack or stroke.

New research suggest that's true in more ways than one. "As a pet owner myself, I can say that adopting Romeo (the author's miniature Schnauzer) has increased my steps and physical activity each day, and he has filled my daily routine with joy and unconditional love". "They worry because they don't want to leave the dog alone if something happens to them", Gulati said. Based on two studies by the American Heart Association, owning a dog is related to an increased chance of living longer, particularly amongst people who've previously had a heart attack or stroke.

However, the AHA also says that pet ownership is a caring commitment that comes with certain financial costs and responsibilities, so "the primary objective of adopting, rescuing, or purchasing a pet" should not be to reduce cardiovascular risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sees the health value in dog ownership. But that percentage gets even higher for certain groups.

Does that mean that even younger people benefit from having a dog?

Still, Kazi writes, the balance of the evidence to date convinces him that "the association between dog ownership and improved survival is real, and is likely at least partially causal".

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