According to a new study, having a pet would be very beneficial for cardiovascular health, especially if it's a dog.
This will please animal lovers. It has already been proven that spending time stroking a dog or a cat can help anxiety-seekers relieve pressure. Today, according to a new study to appear in the September edition of the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality & Outcomes, having a pet could be of great benefit to cardiovascular health, especially if it is a dog.
From January 2013 to December 2014, researchers established a database on the health and socio-economic profile of people living in Brno, Czech Republic. Then, this year, they looked at 1,769 subjects with no history of heart disease and ranked them by body mass index, diet, physical activity, smoking status, blood pressure, their blood sugar and their total cholesterol.
They then assessed the cardiovascular health scores of all pet owners versus non-animal participants. Then, they compared those of dog owners with those of other pets as well as those who did not own animals.
Owners of more physically active dogs
Conclusion: "In general, pet owners were more likely to report more physical activity, better nutrition, and perfect blood glucose," says Andrea Maugeri, researcher at the International Center for Clinical Research at the Sainte-Catherine University Hospital. -Anne from Brno and at the University of Catania in Catania, Italy. In detail, the biggest benefits on heart health were seen among those who owned a dog, "regardless of age, gender and education level," she says.
Thus, people could adopt, save or buy a pet in hopes of improving cardiovascular health, says the researcher, who also encourages patients to exercise more. But for Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, president of the Division of Preventive Cardiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester who participated in the study, the two go together. Indeed, having a dog encourages people to go out, move and play regularly, which makes them more active.
Better mental health and less isolation
This study, which includes follow-up assessments every five years to 2030, is not the first to show the benefits of having a dog for heart health. In the past, researchers had already shown that dog owners had better mental health and tended to be more surrounded. Depression and isolation being two risk factors for heart attack, they were thus more spared.
It has been several years since the American Heart Association assures that playing with your dog contributes to better cardiovascular health. Moreover, according to her, dog owners who have suffered a heart attack have a better survival rate after the event.
Remember that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the world. According to the WHO, in 2012, they caused 17.5 million deaths. Four times out of five, these deaths occur through heart attack or stroke.