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Adopting a dog could lengthen your life, study says
18 November 2017, 01:08 | Virginia Benson
33 pc reduction? Your dog is protecting you from this disease
"The responsibilities associated with dog ownership impose mandatory daily exercise - a schedule which can not be impacted by adverse weather conditions, personal commitments or mood swings", Wolf-Klein said. Their chances of cardiovascular death fell by 15 percent.
Dog owners have a significantly lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and other causes, according to a report by a team of Swedish scientists that gives new meaning to the expression "man's best friend".
"It is also interesting that the dog has had an extremely beneficial impact on the lives of single people who are known to die more often than those who have a family, "said one of the chapters of the study group Mwenya of Mubanga". They focused on 3.4 million people who had no history of cardiovascular disease in 2001, and followed their health records-as well as whether they registered as a dog owner-for about 12 years. But it turns out, having a dog also has a major health benefit: It's good for your (literal) heart. The study excluded the very young due to their low likelihood of developing CVD and the very elderly for their low odds of owning a dog. It's possible that people who choose to own dogs may simply be more active and in better health to begin with, say the authors. Their risk of heart attack was not reduced.
The decrease was strongest in people who lived alone.
Everything from registering a dog to visiting a hospital requires presentation of a unique identification number in Sweden, so the team from Uppsala University were able to access an anonymised set of data from national registries.
Researchers also found the lowest rate of cardiovascular disease was among owners of hunting breeds, which isn't surprising when you think about the high-intensity workout they get when their dogs spot a squirrel.
Senior study author Tove Fall, associate professor at Uppsala University, said: "We know that dog owners in general have a higher level of physical activity, which could be one explanation to the observed results".
"However, as many dog owners may agree, the main reason for owning a dog is the sheer joy".
The researchers also said that aside from physical activity, owning a dog might also contribute to a person's wellbeing by increasing social contact or possibly changing gut bacteria. We've known for a while that you live longer when you live with someone else, but the added benefit of having a dog is that they need to get outside and go for walks, which forces us to get up and take them no matter how exhausted we are or what the weather is like. Just over 13% had pet dogs.
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