Cardiovascular reactivity to emotional stress: The hidden challenge for pets in the urbanized environment.

Author

Marco Antônio Peliky Fontes

Affiliation

Department of Physiology & Biophysics, Institute of Biological Sciences Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Emotional stress is currently considered an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Experimental evidence clearly shows robust autonomic cardiovascular effects in animals exposed to stress stimuli. Considering the remarkable variability of stressors, the urban environment can pose a severe challenge to cardiovascular control. Interestingly, pet ownership is indicated as an efficient non-pharmacological therapy to attenuate stress effects that can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, the risk of cardiovascular diseases in pets themselves living in urban environment has not received attention it deserves. Here, we review the central mechanisms involved in the autonomic cardiovascular response to emotional stress. Next, we discuss experimental evidence showing the cardiovascular effects produced by emotional stressors in animals, aiming to establish a parallel with common urban stressors. Association of additional risk factors such as sedentarism, obesity and ambient temperature are also considered. Our aim is to identify and raise awareness of the risk of cardiovascular disease in pets exposed to quotidian emotional stressors present in the urban environment.

Keywords

Autonomic,Emotional stress,Heart rate, blood pressure, cardiovascular disease,Pets,Urban,

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