Having a resting heart rate of 75 beats per minute during middle-age may double the risk for early death, according to new research.
The study published in the journal, Open Heart involved hundreds of men who had their resting rates measured on two occasions over the space of 10 years.
According to news-medical.net a resting heart rate refers to how quickly the heart beats once a person has been resting for at least five minutes. A rate of 50 to 100 bpm is considered to be normal, but lower rates indicate better cardiovascular fitness and more efficient heart function.
The lead author of the study, Dr Salim Barywani, and his colleagues investigated the impact that a resting rate at the higher end of the scale had on long-term health and risk for early death before the age of 75.
They analysed 798 men, aged 50 or older at random from the general population who had filled out surveys in 1993 about lifestyle, family history of cardiovascular disease and stress levels. The participants had also undergone a medical check that included a measure of their resting heart rate.
The researchers again checked the men’s resting heart rates in 2003 and 2014 to assess any changes in rate between 1993 and 2003, as well as death from any cause and any treatments the men had received up to 2014.
They found that a resting rate of 75 bpm or higher was associated with a two-fold increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease or coronary heart disease, compared with those who had a rate of 55 bpm or lower.
Barywani said that monitoring patients’ resting heart rate over time may help to identify those who are at increased risk for premature death.
“Those found to be at increased risk of dying young or developing heart disease can be given additional lifestyle advice with a focus on exercise and diet.”