Dog Owners Live Longer
The American Heart Health Association explained in a statement that, although the results do not exactly prove that dogs contribute to the better health of their owners, there is some reliable evidence that they are good for the elderly.
The risk of death for whatever reason is lower for dog owners. They are 65% less likely to die from a heart attack and 31% less likely to have a stroke. Such people are more likely to live longer after a cardiovascular accident than those who are in the same home with a partner or children.
For the two new studies, researchers examined the data of everyone between the ages of 40 and 85 who were hospitalized for a heart attack or stroke from 2001 to 2012. Five percent of stroke survivors had dogs. The risk of death for them turned out to be 27% lower. With a spouse or children at home, the risk of death decreased by only 12%. 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.
In the second study, researchers at the University of Toronto examined the data of more than 3.8 million people covered in 10 previous studies. Their results show even greater benefit to the dog owners.
People with dogs have a 24% lower risk of death for whatever reason, with a 65% lower risk of death after a heart attack and 31% less likely to die of cardiovascular disease.
"Having a dog was associated with increased physical exercise, lower blood pressure levels and better cholesterol profile in previous reports," said Dr. Caroline Kramer, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and an endocrinologist in New York. "As such, the findings that people who owned dogs lived longer and their risk for cardiovascular death was also lower are somewhat expected.”, CBS News reported.
Dogs should walk for 30 minutes to two hours a day. This is significantly more than the recommended 150 minutes per week for people.
However, the benefits of dogs are not only physical, they also contribute to human mental health. About 40% of older Americans say they feel isolated or lonely. The dog dispels these concerns.
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