Monday, October 14, 2013

Heart Disease Prevention With Pets!

Pets have been thought to be human’s best friends. For nearly 25 years, researchers have shown that living with pets can provide certain health benefits to the pet owners.

For instance, pets can help lessen anxiety, reduce stress, depression and loneliness. Several studies also reported that heart attack patients who have pets survive longer than those without, and male pet owners have less sign of heart disease than non-owners.

A scientific statements written by American Heart Association (AHA) indicated that owning a pet, particularly dog, might help decrease a person's heart disease risk and is associated with lower levels of obesity, blood pressure and cholesterol.

The statement was published online on May 9, 2013 in journal ‘Circulation’, after reviewing previous studies of the influence of pets. The researchers also pointed out that of all pets, dogs appear most likely to positively influence the level of human physical activity.

Dog owners engage in more physical activity and walking, and are more likely to achieve the recommended level of physical activity than non-owners of dogs. An online survey of 5,253 Japanese adults, quoted in the statement, revealed that dog owners engaged in significantly more walking and physical activity than non-owners, and were 54 percent more likely to achieve the recommended level of physical activity.

While there is a substantial body of data suggesting pet ownership is linked to a reduction in cardiovascular disease risk factors and increased survival in individuals with established cardiovascular disease, these studies could not prove owning a pet can directly cause a reduction in heart disease risk.

Hence, people should not simply adopt, rescue or buy a pet solely for the purpose of reducing cardiovascular disease. The researchers stressed that further research, including better quality studies, should be carried out to more definitively find out whether the act of adopting or acquiring a pet could lead to a lower risk in getting cardiovascular disease in those with pre-existing disease.

According to the American Pet Product Association 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey, about 78.2 million people in the United States own a dog and 86.4 million have a cat. However, based on the report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pet owners are still just as likely to be overweight as people without pets.

Heart disease prevention cannot be achieved by just owning a pet. It is possible that taking care of a pet requires its owner to get more exercise that can lower stress, weight and blood pressure, and benefits the heart. If a pet owner still sits on the couch and eats whatever they want, and smoke and does not control the blood pressure, then there is no benefit at all.


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