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J Vasc Interv Neurol. 2009 Jan;2(1):132-5.

Cat ownership and the Risk of Fatal Cardiovascular Diseases. Results from the Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Study Mortality Follow-up Study.

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  • 1Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Research Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The presence of pets has been associated with reduction of stress and blood pressure and therefore may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

METHODS:

Relative risks (RR) of all deaths, death due to myocardial infarction (MI), cardiovascular diseases (MI or stroke), and stroke during a 20 year follow-up were determined by Cox proportional hazards analysis for categories of cat or dog ownership among participants after adjustment for potential confounding variables.

RESULTS:

Previous or present use of cats as domestic pets was reported by 2435 (55%) of the 4435 participants. After adjustment for differences in age, gender, ethnicity/race, systolic blood pressure, cigarette smoking, diabetes mellitus, serum cholesterol, and body mass index, a significantly lower RR for death due to MI was observed in participants with past cat ownership (RR, 0.63; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.44 to 0.88) compared with those without cats as pet at any time. There was also a trend for decreased risk for death due to cardiovascular diseases among participants with past cat ownership (RR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.55 to 1.0).

CONCLUSIONS:

A decreased risk for death due to MI and all cardiovascular diseases (including stroke) was observed among persons with cats. Acquisition of cats as domestic pets may represent a novel strategy for reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases in high-risk individuals.

KEYWORDS:

cardiovascular diseases; cat ownership; myocardial infarction; national survey; stroke

PMID:
22518240
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC3317329
Free PMC Article
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