American Heart Association: Dogs are goo

May 13 [Mon], 2013, 6:51
Dogs are good for you (Thinkstock)

The American Heart Association (AHA) has declared that pets, especially dogs, are good for a person's heart. Further proof that dogs are among the best friends a person could have.

Dr. Glenn N. Levine, director of Baylor University's cardiac care unit, was quoted in asaying, "Pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, is probably associated with a decreased risk of heart disease."

The AHA writes that owning a dog "may help reduce cardiovascular risk," perhaps due to dogs bugging their owners into taking them for walks on a regular basis. Dog owners were, according to the AHA's studies, 54 percent more likely than non-dog owners to get the suggested amount of exercise.

Anddon't stop there. The AHA writes that owning a pet in general "may be associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels" as well as a lower rate of obesity. Pets can also help a person cope with stressful situations. Last month, a team oftraveled to Boston to help the victims of the bombings.

Via heart.org:

"In essence, data suggest that there probably is an association between pet ownership and decreased cardiovascular risk, Levine said. Whats less clear is whether the act of adopting or acquiring a pet could lead to a reduction in cardiovascular risk in those with pre-existing disease. Further research, including better quality studies, is needed to more definitively answer this question."

In an interview with , Levine said, "We didnt want to make this too strong of a statement. But there are plausible psychological, sociological and physiological reasons to believe that pet ownership might actually have a causal role in decreasing cardiovascular risk."

Good news, no doubt. But one shouldn't expect a dog to offset unhealthy lifestyle choices. "If someone adopts a pet, but still sits on the couch and smokes and eats whatever they want and doesnt control their blood pressure, thats not a prudent strategy to decrease their cardiovascular risk," Levine told the Times.

The Times reports that 70 million dogs and 74 million cats are kept as pets in the U.S.



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