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Lifestyle Pets Unleashed

Pets are great for (your) heart health

Love your pet with all your heart? It may not be just an emotional thing. Researchers said recently that having a pet may help reduce heart disease in humans.
The American Heart Association released a study that said pet ownership, especially dog ownership, is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and increased survival among patients. Why is dog ownership more beneficial? Experts said it’s probably because owning a pooch provides cardiovascular benefits -- all those walks and games of fetch add up! Dog owners, they said, engage in more walking and physical activity than other people, and are 54 percent more likely to get the recommended amount of physical activity than their non-dog-owning counterparts.
Ticker feel fine? Read on -- pet ownership was also associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, a lower incidence of obesity, and better reactions of the body to stress.The study authors did caution that there is no evidence that owning a pet can help people with pre-existing conditions, and that people shouldn’t rush out to adopt pets (because we know you’d adopt rather than buy, right?) to get health benefits. Now, getting a pet to fill your heart emotionally may be a different story...

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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