Cardiovascular disease accounts for over 31 percent of deaths worldwide. Every 40 seconds somebody suffers from a Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) in the United States alone, with over 4 million deaths occurring across Europe every year due to various other Cardiovascular diseases.
Many of these issues can be attributed to damaging lifestyle choices such as smoking, drug abuse, poor diet, lack of exercise or excessive alcohol intake. Other people simply develop unfortunate infections that lead to endocarditis and other potentially fatal illnesses.
An ever increasing factor in the development of cardiological issues many face in today’s society can be caused by stress. This can not only damage your arteries but also lead to high blood pressure and other ailments.
A recent peer reviewed study titled - ‘Dog ownership and the risk of cardiovascular disease and death’ (Published 17 November 2017) - involving several Swedish medical institutes, and one American, including the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA and Department of Medical Sciences, Molecular Epidemiology and Science for Life Laboratory, Uppsala University have, over the course of a cohort 12 year study, concluded that dog ownership can actually reduce your risk of Cardiovascular disease and all cause death.
In 2001, all Swedish residents aged between 40 to 80 years on January 1 were eligible to take part in the study. This accounted for 3,987,937 people, however, due to various exclusions a total of 3,432,153 were used in the final study.
The team “obtained death data from the Cause of Death Register and incident disease data from the National Patient Register from January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2012 in the national cohort” to determine the cause of death for each individual, as well as obtaining inpatient/outpatient records for any related treatment.
The Hazard Risk (HR) associated with CVD for the cohort population was recorded at 0.97-1.01 with 95 percent confidence interval (CI), whereas dog ownership showed an inverse associated risk of CVD at 0.77 (HR) 0.73–0.80, again with 95 percent CI.
There also seemed to be an even greater inverse associated risk with all cause death depending on the breed of dog you own with pointing dogs resulting in an estimated HR 0.60, 95% CI, 0.53–0.68.
This is a huge 30 percent reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
The team concluded - ”in a nationwide population based study with 12 years of follow-up, we show that dog ownership is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in single households and with a reduced risk of cardiovascular and all-cause death in the general population.”
Dogs win over cats, yet again.
Contributors: Mwenya Mubanga, Liisa Byberg, Christoph Nowak, Agneta Egenvall, Patrik K. Magnusson, Erik Ingelsson & Tove Fall