Hearts & Health
Hearts & Health
It's Valentines day and hearts are on lots of people’s minds, but not always for romantic reasons.
According to the British Heart Foundation, almost 1 in 5 men and 1 in 8 women die from heart disease! It remains the biggest killer in the UK. Scary facts, but what has this got to do with a veterinary blog?
Studies in America have shown that owning a pet is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. So why should this be the case? How can owning a pet improve YOUR life expectancy?
Pet owners are more likely to exercise
People who own pets have more reasons to get up and do something. They take more walks and are generally more active. Moderate daily physical exercise greatly decreases the risk of heart disease.
Dogs always need exercise. Even if you’ve had a hard day at work, it’s pouring with rain outside and you’ve got a headache, they still need to have their exercise. That encouragement to get people outdoors and do some exercise themselves makes them the best sort of workout partners - they’re always up for some exercise and they push you to keep going. And it never fails to make you feel better afterwards!
In this modern world we all live in, we are all subject to increasing levels of stress. Stress is another significant factor in the incidence of heart disease.
Pets have been shown to reduce their owner’s body reaction to stress. Pet owners have been shown to have lower heart rates, lower blood pressures and lower adrenaline levels than their non-pet owning counterparts. Pet owners have also been shown to have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels and are more likely to survive heart attacks.
In one study, a group of people with high stress jobs and associated high blood pressure were placed on medication while another group were told to adopt a pet. After 6 months, those people who had adopted a pet were shown to have significantly healthier reactions to stress than those receiving only medication.
While pet ownership is not the whole answer to tackling the UK’s heart disease epidemic, it can be part of the solution. We pet owners have long known that our furry friends immeasurably improve our quality of life, but now we’re starting to see actual evidence for this.
So remember to thank your pet for helping to keep your own heart happy and healthy.