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Pets help the hearts of humans

Many pet owners could say that their dog or cat helps them with matters of the heart - these loyal animals have been keeping us company for so long for a reason. However, a new study found that pet owners with chronic diseases seem to have healthier hearts than those who do not have an animal at home, Reuters Health reports.

The study, published in the American Journal or Cardiology, suggests that those who give to animals get plenty of gifts in return. Researchers found that among patients with coronary artery disease, pet owners exhibit a greater one-year survival rate than those who do not have animals at home.

The researchers did not examine why exactly pet ownership had benefits on heart health, but Judith Siegel, professor at the UCLA School of Public Health says it may have to do with the companionship pets can bring.

"My guess is that pets are a form of social support, hence stress reduction, and they can satisfy some but not all social companionship needs," she told the news outlet.

This is not the first time science has shown physical benefits of pet ownership. WebMD.com reported a 2008 study found that cat owners are less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than non-owners, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that pets can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while also minimizing feelings of loneliness. 
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