Pets Not Only Provide Unconditional Love But Can Reduce Disease Risk

authordebStarred Page By authordeb, 17th Apr 2017 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1sofa1-y/
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Alternative Medicine

They’re cute, cuddly and provide unconditional love and championship, but dogs and cats provide with more than ultimate cuteness. They can provide us with both emotional and physical benefits, Learn about the health benefits of pets.

Intro

We love our pets. They alert us to intruders and love giving snuggles but science has found they are more than just a companion. A growing body of research suggests that owing a pet does provide added benefits for your health. According to the American Pet Products Association 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, 68 percent of US households own a pet which accounts for 84.6 million pet owning households. The survey also revealed 81 are aware that owning a pet can be beneficial to their own health. Below are some health benefits of pet ownership. (2017-2018 APPA National Pet Owners Survey)

Fatal Cardiovascular Disease

Pet ownership has been linked to a reduction of stress and blood pressure and therefore may reduce the risk of heart disease. At the start of the study researchers assessed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study follow-up survey. Out of 14,407 participants a total of 3,592 were dog owners and 2,435 cat owners. Age, cholesterol, race/ethnicity and cigarette smoking were associated with cat ownership. Same characteristics in addition to gender and systolic blood pressure were associated with dog ownership. After researchers adjusted for possible confounders they found a significantly lower risk (63%) for death due to myocardial infarction was seen in past cat owners. There was also an increased risk for death from cardiovascular diseases in participants without cats. The researchers concluded there is a decreased risk for death due to myocardial infraction and all cardiovascular disease including stroke among cat owners. Owning a cat may be a novel strategy for reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases in high-risk individuals. ((2009) Cat ownership and the Risk of Fatal Cardiovascular Diseases. Results from the Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Study Mortality Follow-up Study. Journal of Vascular and Interventional Neurology, 2(1), 132–135.)

Childhood Anxiety

A cross-sectional study examined the hypothesis that pet dogs are positively associated with mental health among children. The study enrolled 643 children and in the final analysis 370 children had a pet dog and 273 had no dog. Mothers filled out a screening asking: “Do you live with a pet in your home?” and asked questions about the dog including duration of exposure to the pet dog in the child’s lifetime and time spent being physically active with the dog. Researchers measured the children’s s general anxiety, separation anxiety, social phobia, school phobia, and physical symptoms of anxiety. The study results suggest that children who have a pet dog in the home have a lower anxiety screening score than children who do not. The study concludes having a pet dog in the home was associated with a decreased probability of childhood anxiety. ( Pet Dogs and Children’s Health: Opportunities for Chronic Disease Prevention? Prev Chronic Dis 2015;12:150204, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd12.150204)

Blood Pressure

According to the University of Buffalo researchers a dog or cat controls blood pressure better than ACE Inhibitors. Karen Allen, Ph.D., UB research assistant professor of medicine, evaluated the effect of social support on heart rate, blood pressure and renin reactivity in response to mental stress in a group of 48 stockbrokers, 24 male and 24 female in New York City who had pre-treatment blood-pressure readings higher than 140/90 hg/ml. All were graduates, non-smokers and no other medical conditions, lived alone and had not owned a pet within the last five years. All participants had to be willing to choose a dog or cat of their choice if assigned to the pet-ownership group. Blood pressure, heart rate and activity of plasma renin were measure in all participants before drug therapy and six months after when all were taking ACE inhibitors and those in the test group had acquired their pets. After six months while all participants were taking ACE Inhibitors during stress the non-pet owner’s heart rate, blood pressure and renin increased nearly too pre-treatment levels. In the pet owners showed increases in heart rate of 10 beats per minute; systolic blood pressure of 8 mm/Hg; diastolic blood pressure of 9 mm/Hg and renin activity of 1.6ng/ml/hr. (http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/1999/11/4489.html)

Pain

A study from Loyola University measured the need for oral pain medication in patients who were exposed to animal-assisted therapy and those who were not. The groups were similar in the aspects of age, gender, ethnicity, length of stay and type of total joint replacement. The animal-assisted group had daily visits from specially trained dogs for an average of five to 15 minutes. Researchers found the animal-assisted group had a 28 percent less need for pain medication (15.32 mg versus 21.16 mg). (https://www.loyolamedicine.org/news/animal-therapy-reduces-need-pain-medication-after-joint-replacement-surgery-08072014)

Stroke Prevention

“If you have a cat, you’re 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack, and you’re 40 percent less likely to have a cardiovascular incident like a stroke,” Dr. Becker, DMV. in addition, pets can aid in the recovery of a heart attack. “If you have a heart attack and you have a dog, you are significantly more likely to be alive a year later.” (http://www.berksarl.org/adoption/senior-cats-for-senior-people/)

Physical Health

A study appearing in Gerontologist looked at the link between dog ownership and pet bonding with walking behavior and health outcomes in older adults. Researchers used information from the 12th wave (2012) of the Health and Retirement Study. The results showed dog walking was linked with a lower body mass index, fewer activities of daily living limitations, fewer doctor visits, and more frequent moderate and vigorous exercise.( Gerontologist. 2016 Mar 21. pii: gnw051)

Pet Adoption

Each year, 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in the United States, simply because too many pets come into shelters and too few people consider adoption when looking for a pet. When you adopt, you save a loving animal by making them part of your family and open up shelter space for another animal who might desperately need it.

If a pet is the right fit for you and your family you can check out:

http://www.adoptapet.com
https://www.petfinder.com/
http://www.humanesociety.org/
https://www.aspca.org/adopt-pet

Tags

Anxiety, Blood Pressure, Cardiovascular Diseases, Cat Ownership, Children, Dog Ownership, Health Benefits, National Survey, Pain, Pet Adoption, Physical Health

Meet the author

author avatar authordeb
Author of the Love and Laughter series
Alternative Medicine Practitioner
Hypnotherapist
Freelance Health Write
Works with Media companies for interviews and articles such as Howie Mandel for Afib,

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