A recent study conducted by scientists at the Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine and the Human Animal Interaction Research Center showed pet owners tend to be healthier and happier than people who don’t share a home with an animal. The research comes at a time when more and more pets are being abandoned on the streets or in shelters.
Pets Influence Blood Pressure Levels
According to Rebecca Johnson, lead author of the study, pet owners are known to have lower cortisol levels and increased oxytocin production. The lack of stress and constant good mood increases a person’s life spam and offers protection against a wide array of diseases.
Moreover, research conducted by Josephine M. Wills at UK’s Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition, showed that petting an animal helps lower both stress levels and blood pressure. Her findings were backed up by a New York State University study lead by Dr. Karen Allen who found that individuals who are already on hypertension medication respond better to stress factors if they own a dog or a cat.
Allen looked at 48 stockbrokers who were under medication for severe hypertension. During the first stage of the study, the participants were closely monitored to see how their bodies reacted to the Lisinopril. Then, a random sample of 24 individuals was selected. This group was introduced to a pet – either a cat or a dog.
After a couple of weeks with their new four-legged companions, the patients were more likely to register stable blood pressure levels than those who were taking the same medication but had no pets.
It seems that the presence of a pet exerted a peaceful state that regulated both the heart rate and blood pressure levels when the owner engaged in tasks that were otherwise considered stressful. Furthermore, pet ownership was compared to human companionship, four-legged fluffs being able to provide the same psychological benefits as life-long friends.
The study even claims that pets are sometimes more efficient than ACE inhibitors as the drugs are meant to keep blood pressure levels under control during normal conditions. When additional stress factors are added, pets are better at lowering blood pressure and inducing a state of calm on the owner than medication.
Pets Are a Healthy Influence
It’s a win-win situation. Humans get to have a companion that positively influences their lives while the animals get to have a loving home, away from depressing, crowded shelters. If you’re looking for a four-legged companion to help you keep your blood pressure in check, remember, adopt don’t shop.
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