Saturday December 7, 2019

Dog Ownership Leads to Longer Life And Healthy Heart

Studies Show that Dog ownership alleviates social isolation, improves physical activity and lowers blood pressure

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Keeping a dog is a good motivation for physical activity, which is an important factor in rehabilitation and mental health. Pixabay

A dog at home means longer life and better cardiovascular health, especially for heart attack and stroke survivors who live alone, according to a new study and a separate meta-analysis on the subject.

Prior studies have shown that dog ownership alleviates social isolation, improves physical activity and even lowers blood pressure.

“The two new studies provide good, quality data indicating dog ownership is associated with reduced cardiac and all-cause mortality,” said Glenn N.Levine, Chair of the writing group of the American Heart Association’s scientific statement on pet ownership.

Researchers in this study compared the health outcomes of dog owners and non-owners after a heart attack or stroke using health data provided by the Swedish National Patient Register.

The patients studied were Swedish residents aged 40-85 who experienced a heart attack or an ischemic stroke from 2001-2012.

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Having a dog is associated with increased physical exercise, lower blood pressure levels and better cholesterol. Pixabay

Compared to people who did not own a dog, researchers found that for dog owners, the risk of death for heart attack patients living alone after hospitalization was 33 per cent lower, and 15 per cent lower for those living with a partner or child.

The risk of death for stroke patients living alone after hospitalization was 27 per cent lower and 12 per cent lower for those living with a partner or child.

In the study, nearly 182,000 people were recorded to have had a heart attack, with almost 6 per cent being dog owners, and nearly 155,000 people were recorded to have had an ischemic stroke, with almost 5 per cent being dog owners.

The lower risk of death associated with dog ownership could be explained by an increase in physical activity and the decreased depression and loneliness, both of which have been connected to dog ownership in previous studies.

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Compared to people who do not own a dog, Study says that for dog owners, the risk of death for heart attack patients living alone after hospitalization is 33 per cent lower. Pixabay

“Keeping a dog is a good motivation for physical activity, which is an important factor in rehabilitation and mental health,” said Tove Fall, professor at Uppsala University in Sweden.

In the meta-analysis, Researchers reviewed patient data of over 3.8 million people taken from 10 separate studies for a composite meta-analysis study.

Researchers found that compared to non-owners, dog owners experienced a 24 per cent reduced risk of all-cause mortality, 65 per cent reduced risk of mortality after heart attack; and 31 per cent reduced risk of mortality due to cardiovascular-related issues.

“Having a dog was associated with increased physical exercise, lower blood pressure levels and better cholesterol profile in previous reports,” said Caroline Kramer, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

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The findings of the study and meta-analysis were published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a journal of the American Heart Association. (IANS)

Next Story

Reduction in Air Pollution May Increase Life-Expectancy: Study

Findings of a Research indicate almost immediate and substantial effects on health outcomes followed reduced exposure to air pollution

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Fortunately, reducing air Pollution can result in prompt and substantial health gains. Pixabay

Reductions in Air Pollution yielded fast and dramatic impacts on health-outcomes, as well as decreases in all-cause morbidity, a new study suggests.

The study, published in the journal Annals of the American Thoracic Society, reviewed interventions that have reduced air pollution at its source. It looked for outcomes and time to achieve those outcomes in several settings, finding that the improvements in health were striking.

Starting at week one of a ban on smoking in Ireland, for example, there was a 13 per cent drop in all-cause mortality, a 26 per cent reduction in ischemic heart disease, a 32 per cent reduction in stroke, and a 38 per cent reduction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Interestingly, the greatest benefits in that case occurred among non-smokers.

“We knew there were benefits from pollution control, but the magnitude and relatively short time duration to accomplish them were impressive,” said lead author Dean Schraufnagel from the American Thoracic Society in the US.

“Our findings indicate almost immediate and substantial effects on health outcomes followed reduced exposure to air pollution. It’s critical that governments adopt and enforce WHO guidelines for air pollution immediately,” Schraufnagel added.

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Reductions in Air Pollution yielded fast and dramatic impacts on health-outcomes, as well as decreases in all-cause morbidity, a new study suggests. Pixabay

According to the researchers, In the US a 13-month closure of a steel mill in Utah resulted in reducing hospitalisations for pneumonia, pleurisy, bronchitis and asthma by half.

School absenteeism decreased by 40 per cent, and daily mortality fell by 16 per cent for every 100 µg/m3 PM10 (a pollutant) decrease.

Women who were pregnant during the mill closing were less likely to have premature births.

A 17-day ‘transportation strategy,’ in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1996 Olympic Games involved closing parts of the city to help athletes make it to their events on time, but also greatly decreased air pollution.

In the following four weeks, children’s visits for asthma to clinics dropped by more than 40 per cent and trips to emergency departments by 11 per cent. Hospitalizations for asthma decreased by 19 per cent.

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Findings of the Study indicate almost immediate and substantial effects on health outcomes followed reduced exposure to air pollution. It’s critical that governments adopt and enforce WHO guidelines for air pollution immediately. Wikimedia Commons

Similarly, when China imposed factory and travel restrictions for the Beijing Olympics, lung function improved within two months, with fewer asthma-related physician visits and less cardiovascular mortality.

“Fortunately, reducing air pollution can result in prompt and substantial health gains. Sweeping policies affecting a whole country can reduce all-cause mortality within weeks,” Schraufnagel said.

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Local programmes, such as reducing traffic, have also promptly improved many health measures, said the study. (IANS)