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Want to live longer and avoid heart attack, stroke? Get a dog


Long, healthy life associated with dogs

Twenty-five per cent of hospital admissions and 13 per cent of deaths in Kenya are due to cardiovascular diseases

Dog ownership can be associated with longer life and better cardiovascular outcomes, especially for heart attack and stroke survivors who live alone, according to new studies.

The studies and analyses were published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a journal of the American Heart Association.

“The findings build upon prior studies that dog ownership is associated with reductions in factors that contribute to cardiac risk and cardiovascular events,” said Glenn Levine, the chairperson of the writing group of the American Heart Association’s scientific statement on pet ownership.

“Further, these two studies provide good, quality data indicating dog ownership is associated with reduced cardiac and all-cause death. While these non-randomised studies cannot ‘prove’ that adopting or owning a dog directly leads to reduced mortality, these robust findings are certainly at least suggestive of this.”

According to the Health ministry, 25 per cent of hospital admissions and 13 per cent of deaths in Kenya are due to cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, stroke and hypertension.

These researchers aimed to establish how pet ownership could affect health outcomes of such patients given that social isolation and poor physical activity could have negative impacts on them. But, the researchers said studies in the past “have shown that dog ownership alleviates social isolation, improves physical activity and even lowers blood pressure”. This led them to believe dog ownership could potentially have better cardiovascular outcomes compared to non-ownership.