Today, we celebrate the World Stroke Day, which also marks the end of the World Stroke Campaign. This campaign started with the European Stroke Awareness Day in May 2019 and presently culminates with the World Stroke Day. The “1 in 4” theme of this year’s campaign has been selected to highlight the observation that in today’s world, one in four people will experience a stroke in their lifetime.
Everyone is at risk! Yet, there is some good news. Dog ownership is likely to be be associated with longer life and better cardiovascular outcomes, especially for stroke survivors who live alone. This is rather encouraging for today’s World Stroke Day. The underlying source data are based on a new Swedish study and a separate meta-analysis published in Circulation.
Concerning the new study, the authors compared the health outcomes of dog owners and non-owners after a stroke using health data provided by the Swedish National Patient Register. Compared to people who did not own a dog, researchers found that for dog owners the risk of death for stroke patients living alone after hospitalization was 27% lower versus 12% lower for those living with a partner or child. As for the meta-analysis, the authors reviewed patient data of over 3.8 million people originating from 10 separate studies based on a composite meta-analysis study. Compared to people who did not own a dog, researchers found that dog owners exhibited a 24% reduced risk of all-cause mortality.
In the Conclusion section, the main author added the following key statement: I can say that adopting Romeo, my miniature Schnauzer, has increased my steps and physical activity each day, and he has filled my daily routine with joy and unconditional love.”
Mubanga M, Byberg L, Egenvall A, et al. Dog Ownership and Survival After a Major Cardiovascular Event. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Published online 8 October 2019