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Increased resting heart rate increases the risk of premature death
The resting heart rate can obviously indicate our relative life expectancy. A study by Swedish scientists has shown that an average resting frequency of over 75 beats per minute can double the risk of death. Each more stroke showed an increased risk of 3 percent. A lowering of the resting heart rate is possible, for example, through regular endurance sports.
A recent study by the University of Gothenburg has now shown that a resting heart rate of 75 beats per minute in middle age indicates the risk of premature death. The results of the study were published in the British Medical Journal's “Open Heart” journal.
How does the resting heart rate affect health?
If men had a resting heart rate of 75 or more after the age of 50, they died twice as often within the next two decades, compared to men who had a resting heart rate of 55 or less, the study authors report. Each additional resting heartbeat per minute was associated with a three percent higher risk of premature death, the researchers report. Additional heartbeats were also associated with a 1 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease and a 2 percent higher chance of coronary artery disease.
What is the resting heart rate?
The so-called resting heart rate indicates how often the organ beats per minute when you are not exerting yourself or exercising. A normal value is between 50 and 100 beats per minute (bpm). A lower heart rate generally indicates better cardiovascular health and general fitness.
798 men participated in the study
To find out how changes in our heart rate can affect the risk of premature death, the researchers analyzed data from 798 men. The participants were all born in 1943. The men completed a questionnaire back in 1993 about their lifestyle, existing stress and any family history of heart disease. They also underwent a medical exam, which included measurement of the resting heart rate. The participants were then divided into four groups: people with a resting heart rate of 55 bpm or less; 56 to 65 bpm; 66 to 75 bpm and more than 75 bpm. The resting heart rate was measured again in 2003 and 2014 among men who were still alive at the time and wanted to continue participating in the study.
What is coronary artery disease?
A so-called coronary artery disease occurs when the main blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen and nutrients are damaged. This is usually due to plaque and inflammation. When plaques build up, it narrows the arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart. Over time, this can lead to angina pectoris, while complete blockage can even trigger a heart attack. Many people have no symptoms initially, but when the plaques build up, they may notice chest pain or shortness of breath when exercising or stressed out. Other causes include smoking, diabetes, and an inactive and sedentary lifestyle.
How can I prevent coronary artery disease?
Coronary artery disease can be prevented by giving up smoking, controlling symptoms such as diabetes or high blood pressure, staying active, eating healthy, and avoiding stress. Medications can help lower cholesterol and, for example, aspirin can thin the blood to reduce the risk of blood clots. In severe cases, stents can also be inserted into the arteries to open them, and coronary artery bypass surgery involves transplanting a vessel from elsewhere in the body to bypass the blocked arteries.
What were the results?
During the 21-year study period, 119 of the participants (almost 15 percent) died before their 71st birthday. And 237 men (almost 28 percent) developed cardiovascular diseases. This is a general term for conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels. About 113 participants (just over 14 percent) developed coronary artery disease, in which the blood flow to the heart is blocked or interrupted by the coronary arteries. The results showed that people with a measured resting heart rate of 75 or more died twice as often in 21 years in 1993 compared to patients with a heart rate of 55 bpm or below.
With a stable resting heart rate between 1993 and 2003, when the men were 50 to 60 years old, the risk of cardiovascular disease was 44 percent lower over the next eleven years compared to participants whose heart rate during this Age increase. Men with a heart rate above 55 bpm in 1993 were more likely to smoke, sedentary, or stressed. They also often suffered from typical risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure or obesity.
More research is needed
The investigation was just an observational study that could not determine the causes, the researchers report. In addition, only men of a certain age were examined, so the results obtained may not apply to the general population. Further research on this topic is urgently needed. However, the authors hope that the results will lead to our resting heart rate being monitored for changes in the future, which can then reveal our risk of heart disease. If you want to protect yourself from heart diseases, you can also eat more cinnamon, for example. A recent study by Victor Babes University of Medicine and Pharmacy found that cinnamon offers the best protection against cardiovascular disease. (as)