Had a Stroke? Get a Dog

Especially important advice for stroke survivors who live alone. This was the conclusion of a meta-analysis of 10 studies, comprising 3.8 million individuals and published in 2019 in the journal Circulation.

Those with dogs, compared to those without, had reduced “all-cause” mortality by 25% and cardiovascular (stroke and MI) mortality by 65%. Risk reductions were not as dramatic but still significant for dog owners who did not live alone.

Dog owners have more interaction with others and this reduces social isolation, a strong risk factor for poor health outcomes and premature death. Having a dog also leads to more physical activity, an important factor in rehabilitation. Lastly, depression and loneliness are reduced.

A stroke survivor’s best friend may be a dog.

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