Owning a Cat Reduces Risk of Stroke
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March 20, 2008
By Sara Ott, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist




How much is that kitty in the window? Maybe priceless, if
you want to avoid having a stroke. According to a new
study released this week by scientists at the University of
Minnesota, people who stroke a purring car have a 40%
reduced risk of suffering a stroke or heart disease.

Exactly how those  little furry balls of mischief cut your risk
of stroke and heart disease is unclear but reserarchers poit
out that owning a cathelps to reduce stress and anxiety,
which in turn help protect against cardiovascular problems
by lowering blood pressure and reducing the heart rate.

"The logical explanation may be that cat ownership relieves
stress and anxiety and subsequently reduces the risk of
heart disease," ' lead author Prof Adnan Qureshi of the
Minnesota University says.

The research suggests that one reason could be that
stroking the pet could cut the level of
stress-related
hormones in the blood.

The team came to the conclusion after analysing a data of
4,435 adults, aged between 30 and 75, about half of whom
owned a cat. Subsequently, the team tracked rates of death
from all causes, including heart and stroke.

The cat owners "appeared to have a lower rate of dying
from heart attacks" over 10 years of follow-up compared to
feline-free folk, Prof Qureshi said, adding the magnitude of
the effect -- a 30 per cent reduction in heart attack risk --
"was a little bit surprising".

Cat owners were still found to have a much reduced chance
of developing strokes or heart attacks even after the team
took into account factors known to trigger heart disease,
including high cholesterol levels, smoking and diabetes, into
consideration.

"We certainly expected an effect, because we thought that
there was a biologically plausible mechanism at work. But
the magnitude of the effect was hard to predict," Prof
Qureshi said. (Read more about
foods and other natural
remedies to prevent stroke.)


















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