33 pc reduction? Your dog is protecting you from this disease

18 November, 2017, 00:23 | Author: Devin Moran
  • 33 pc reduction? Your dog is protecting you from this disease

Scientists researching a link between dog ownership and cardiovascular health found friendly pooches also lower risk of death from heart disease and other ailments.

As far as companions in life go (and we're including people in this) dogs are the best.

Older people who live alone are 33 per cent less likely to die over the next 12 years if they have a dog, according to a Swedish study of more than 3.4 million elderly people.

People who live with others also saw Fido-related benefits, but not as much as the single folks. They were also 11% less likely to have a heart attack, an effect that is not shown among people who live with others and is nearly certainly attributable to our children's leftover french fries.

The heart-health benefits of being a dog parent were especially pronounced among people living alone (in this case, meaning without other humans), which, according to the study's authors, is a group reported previously to be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death than those living with other people.

The findings, published Friday in the journal Scientific Reports, are based on data from more than 3.4 million Swedes between the ages of 40 and 80.

While the study does not speculate on why the creatures might be better for life longevity Professor Fall speculated that "there could be direct effects of having a dog, such as more motivation for physical activity". "We observed, for example, that owners of dogs of different hunting breeds stood out as healthier".

33 pc reduction? Your dog is protecting you from this disease
33 pc reduction? Your dog is protecting you from this disease

The dog is the most popular pet in the United Kingdom, with 24 percent of people owning one.

Another small study found that people who walked dogs five times a week lost an average of 14.4 pounds over a year, which also helps heart health.

Owners of hunting breeds, including terriers, retrievers, and scent hounds, were most protected from cardiovascular disease and death.

Cardiovascular disease causes more than a quarter (26 per cent) of all deaths in the United Kingdom 160,000 each year.

Tove Fall, senior author of the study, said there were some limitations: "These kind of epidemiological studies look for associations in large populations but do not provide answers on whether and how dogs could protect from cardiovascular disease".

Experts in the United States agreed that the findings made sense. But their risk of a heart attack was not reduced by owning a dog.

But Fall does not believe that getting more exercise explains all, or even most, of the health effects that come with dog ownership.



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