Posted on Apr 17, 2019, 6 p.m.
Having a resting heart rate of 75 bpm during middle age may double the risk of early death, according to a new study lead by Salim Barywani of the University of Gothenburg, which was published in the journal Open Heart.
A resting heart rate of 75 bpm was shown to double the risk of early death, men whose heart rate increased during their 50s were also more likely to develop heart disease in their 60s in a study involving hundreds of men who had their resting heart rates measured on two occasions over the space of 10 years.
Resting heart rate refers to how quickly the heart beats once a person has been resting for at least 5 minutes. The team investigated impacts of resting heart rates at the higher end of the scale had on long term health and risk of death before the age of 75.
798 men aged 50+ were analyzed at random from the general population who filled out surveys about lifestyle, stress levels, and family history of CVD in 1993 who had also undergone a medical check that included having their resting heart rate measured. These men were divided into 4 groups: those with resting heart rates greater than 75 bpm; those between 66-75 bpm; 56-65 bpm; and those with resting heart rates of 55 bpm or less. Subject’s resting heart rates were measured again in 2003 and 2014 to assess changes as well as death from any cause and any treatments they had received.
A resting heart rate of 75 bpm or higher was found to be associated with a two fold increased risk of death from CVD or CHD compared to those with a rate of 55 bpm or lower. Those with stable resting heart rates between 1993-2003 were at a 44% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease within the next 11 years; for every additional increase in bpm there was a 3% increase in risk of death from any cause, and a 1% increase for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.
Sleep deprivation, age, over exercising, dehydration, and stress are some of the factors that can contribute to increased resting heart rates. To measure your resting heart rate take your pulse after resting for a minimum of 5 minutes by counting the number of times your heart beats over one minute. Pulse can be felt in the wrist near the base of the thumb or in the neck below the jaw.
While this study was observational and thus can’t establish cause, results imply tracking changes in heart rate may help to identify cardiovascular risk. To help lower your resting heart rate try increasing the amount of physical movement/activity and exercise you do; get enough sleep; manage and reduce stress levels; maintain a healthy weight, and avoid tobacco use and passive second hand smoke.
Materials provided by:
Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.