Strokes and heart attacks are one of the most common causes of death in Poland. They often lead to disability, reduce professional activity and reduce the quality of life. Recent scientific research indicates that having a dog or cat may be helpful in preventing and treating these diseases. Check yourself how much you can gain thanks to a friend on four legs.
Animals give a lot of joy and reduce stress, but not only. According to the American Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to scientific research, other benefits include:
In turn, according to the Institute of Health Care, too high blood pressure and too high cholesterol are one of the risk factors in strokes and heart attacks. Others include diabetes, overweight and low levels of physical activity - something that can be prevented or cured by regular walking with the dog or playing with the cat at home.
But which animal is better - a cat or a dog? At first glance, Azor seems to be more helpful than Kitty - after all, with the first you have to leave the house 3 times a day, sometimes even more ? However, what is the opinion on science about this?
The easiest way would be to measure how many percent of those living with a dog or cat have had a heart attack or stroke compared to those who live without pets. However, researchers took a different approach and measured the percentage of deaths from heart attacks or strokes among people who own a cat or dog.
In a 2019 study, conducted in Sweden, it turned out that owners of dogs after heart attacks had a 33% lower risk of death if they lived alone, and a 15% lower risk of death if they lived with someone.
This is a very interesting conclusion, because it is usually said that a person after a heart attack should not live alone, that they will be lonely and more vulnerable to another heart attack. However, it is easy to guess that owning a dog independently forces the owner to regularly walk with the quadruped. When a person after a heart attack lives with a partner or a child, it will be more likely to go out with the dog to "relieve" the sick person - as you can see, this is not necessary, and even harmful.
Similar conclusions came for people after stroke who have a dog - 27% lower risk of death if they live alone, 12% lower risk of death if they live with a partner or a child.
Having a cat is a good alternative, even if you live with a partner or a child. According to the British newspaper The Telegraph, living with a cat reduces the risk of death from a heart attack and stroke by as much as 41%. An impressive result, right ?!
Canadian analysis of 10 studies indicates a 65% lower risk of death after a heart attack and 24% lower risk of death in general for dog owners.
It is possible, therefore, that having a pet does not force you to move, but gives you a reason to live, even despite temporarily or permanently limited fitness. The cat or dog also alleviates the discomfort associated with treatment, reduced social contact and lowered mood.
So no matter which four-legged dog you choose - it's important that it suits you, your needs and possibilities (financial, housing or time). Do not adopt or buy a dog or a cat only as a kind of medicine or therapy if you cannot afford to care for it and love it. You must be aware of what a quadruped involves and choose it so that its character and energy level match yours.
As you can see, science is exploring various options for behavior or recovery. If you have the option, adopting a pet can help rehabilitate a person after a heart attack or stroke. Care for the proper functioning of blood vessels should guide everyone, regardless of age and lifestyle.
 Instytut Ochrony Zdrowia. Udary mózgu– rosnący problem w starzejącym się społeczeństwie https://spartanska.pl/wp-content/uploads/raport_udary-m%C3%B3zgu.pdf
 Rządowa Rada Równościowa Zachorowalność i umieralność na choroby układu krążenia sytuacja demograficzna Polski https://bip.stat.gov.pl/files/gfx/bip/pl/zamowieniapubliczne/426/248/1/81_gp_rrl_2015_monografia_kardiologiczna.pdf
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Healthy Pets, Healthy People https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/
 Mubanga M, Byberg L, Egenvall A, et al. Dog Ownership and Survival After a Major Cardiovascular Event https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.118.005342
 The Telegraph. Owning a cat “cuts stroke risk by third”. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1582144/Owning-a-cat-cuts-stroke-risk-by-third.html
 Kramer CK, Mehmood S, Suen RS. Dog Ownership and Survival. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.119.005554