Navigation Links
Pets a Boon for the Human Heart, Cardiologists Say

THURSDAY, May 9 (HealthDay News) -- That four-legged friend of yours may be more than a companion -- he also may be boosting your heart health, experts say.

An official statement released Thursday by the American Heart Association says there is evidence that having a pet, particularly a dog, may lower your risk of heart disease.

Cardiology specialists weren't all that surprised.

"Pets really might be man's best friend," said Barbara George, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Lifestyle Medicine at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y.

"Studies have shown people who own pets, particularly dogs, have lower blood pressure, increased mood-related brain chemicals, better cholesterol numbers, lower weight and improved stress response," George said.

Members of the American Heart Association (AHA) committee that wrote the statement reviewed data from an array of relevant studies. They found that pet ownership appears to be associated with a reduction in heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels and obesity -- and improved survival among people with heart disease.

Dog ownership in particular may help reduce heart risk, the statement said. People with dogs may get more exercise because they take their dogs for walks. A study of more than 5,200 adults found that dog owners did more walking and physical activity than those who didn't own dogs, and that dog owners were 54 percent more likely to get the recommended level of physical activity.

"Walking your dog is a healthy chore; it is a great way to exercise without thinking about it," said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, clinical associate professor in the department of medicine at the Tisch Center for Women's Health at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. "Pet owners increase their physical activity simply by walking their dogs."

Pets can also have a positive effect on the body's reactions to stress, according to the AHA. George agreed, saying pets can be "a tool for weight loss, socialization, calming our nerves and easing anxiety and depression."

The AHA stressed, however, that the studies they reviewed cannot prove that owning a pet directly reduces heart disease risk.

"It may be simply that healthier people are the ones that have pets, not that having a pet actually leads to or causes reduction in cardiovascular risk," statement committee chairman Dr. Glenn Levine, a professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said in an AHA news release.

"There probably is an association between pet ownership and decreased cardiovascular risk," he said. "What's 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 the meantime, George said, humans can benefit from the mental and physical rewards of furry companions. "Pets tug at our heartstrings," she said. "But they also improve our health -- both mental and physical -- helping us to live longer and happier lives."

The AHA statement was published online May 9 in the journal Circulation.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health outlines what you can do to reduce heart risk.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCES: Barbara George Ed.D., R.N., director, Center for Cardiovascular Lifestyle Medicine, Winthrop-University Hospital, Mineola, N.Y.; Nieca Goldberg, M.D., clinical associate professor, department of medicine, Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology, Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; American Heart Association, news release, May 9, 2013

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. New drug prevents spread of human prostate cancer cells
2. Scientists solving the mystery of human consciousness
3. First targeted nanomedicine to enter human clinical studies
4. Edith Mitchell, M.D., FACP, named 2012 recipient of ASCO Humanitarian Award
5. Novel compound demonstrates anti-leukemic effect in zebrafish, shows promise for human treatment
6. 2 genetic deletions in human genome linked to the development of aggressive prostate cancer
7. IBN discovers human neural stem cells with tumor targeting ability
8. RANK protein promotes the initiation, progression and metastasis of human breast cancer
9. CNIO researchers describe new functions of cohesin relevant for human disease
10. New Clues to the Evolution of the Human Brain
11. Humanist funerals
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... strategic partnership with Connance, a healthcare industry leader providing predictive analytics to ... technology combine to provide health systems, hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers with ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... 2016 , ... On June 10-11, 2016, A Forever Recovery, a holistic treatment ... Longest Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, MI, where the rehabilitation facility is located. This ... of the world’s leading providers of cereal and other breakfast foods. Its residents often ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Many women are confused ... endometriosis. These women need a treatment plan to not only alleviate symptoms and ... help for preservation of fertility and ultimately achieving a pregnancy. The specialists at ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture animations, FCPX ... Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package transforms over ... Cut Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it above media ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the ... to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The ... Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  Astellas today announced the establishment of Astellas Farma Colombia (AFC), a new affiliate with operations headquartered in ... America . ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... N.J. , June 23, 2016  Guerbet announced ... Premier Inc.,s Supplier Horizon Award . ... year, Guerbet was recognized for its support of Premier ... creation through clinical excellence, and commitment to lower costs. ... to receive this recognition of our outstanding customer service ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... DUBLIN , June 23, 2016 ... the "Surgical Procedure Volumes: Global Analysis (United States, ... Australia, Canada)" report to their offering. ... an essential tool for healthcare business planners, provides surgical ... looks at surgery trends with an in-depth analysis of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: