Published: Fri, October 11, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Owning a dog reduces your risk of dying early, study finds

Owning a dog reduces your risk of dying early, study finds

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, a co-author of the meta-analysis.

The people studied were Swedish residents ages 40-85 who had a heart attack or a stroke from 2001-2012. Breaking down the numbers, the team found that for people who owned dogs and otherwise lived alone, the risk of dying after a heart attack following hospitalization was a huge 33-percent lower.

According to the World Health Organization, heart attacks and stroke are the top two leading causes of death globally.

Additionally, investigators observed a significant decrease in the risk of death associated with dog ownership in a cohort of 6 studies, but there was significant heterogeneity in the individual estimates of the magnitude of the association (I2=97.6%, P 0.001).

"People who lived with a dog actually had less mortality than people living alone who didn't have a dog", said Gulati, who was not involved in either study.

In the new study, the researchers compared the health of dog owners and non-owners who were also a heart attack or stroke survivors. For stroke patients who went home after discharge, the risk of death for patients was 27 percent lower in those with dogs and 12 percent lower in those who are with a partner or a child.

Tove Fall, D. V. M., professor at Uppsala University in Sweden added: "We know that social isolation is a strong risk factor for worse health outcomes and premature death".

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"Is it the dog or is it the behaviors?" "Maybe it's not the dog itself, it's that people already have a healthier lifestyle before". Are they healthier or wealthier? The findings come from two separate studies publish this month in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a journal published by the American Heart Association.

Having a dog also related to positive health impacts like "lower blood pressure levels, improved lipid profile, and diminished sympathetic responses to stress", according to Kramer.

"One study, my favorite, found just the effect of petting a dog can reduce your blood pressure as much as a medication", Kramer said. That's especially important after a major illness, such as a heart attack or stroke.

"However, more research is needed to confirm a causal relationship and giving recommendations about prescribing dogs for prevention. They worry because they don't want to leave the dog alone if something happens to them", Gulati said.

"Dog ownership is associated with lower risk of death over the long term", Mount Sinai endocrinologist Dr.

"Given the magnitude of the potential benefit-and likely little or no harm-these findings should encourage clinicians to discuss pet adoption with their patients, particularly those with preexisting cardiovascular disease and those living by themselves", Kazi wrote.

"They think they're doing it for the animal, not for their own health".

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