Can we get a woof, woof? New research has found that a man's best friend may be his heart's best bet too!
A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology suggests people with chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol who own pets have healthier hearts then those with the same conditions who don't own pets.
After monitoring the changing heart rates of 191 people between the ages of 60 and 80 over a 24-hour period, researchers found those with a pet had higher heart rate variability than those who didn't.
Basically, pet owners' heart rates responded better to their body's "changing requirements", like beating faster during stressful situations. This is a good thing because lower heart rate variability is linked to a higher risk of death from heart disease.
The study's lead author Naoko Aiba wrote, "Among patients with coronary artery disease, pet owners exhibit a greater 1-year survival rate than nonowners."
More research is needed to discover the particular link between pets and heart health, but experts are hypothesizing that a pet's companionship provides stress reduction for their owners.
[Image via WENN.]