Having an elevated resting heart rate suggests a higher risk of premature death, a recent study has shown. Research was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, on Monday, November 23, by a team of experts led by Dr. Dongfeng Zhang, at the Medical College of Qingdao University, in Shandong, China.
A staggering number of 46 studies were reviewed, where approximately 2 million people had been surveyed.
It was determined that respondents with a resting heart rate lower than 60 were the most unlikely to suffer premature death. In contrast, those whose pulse was between 60 and 80 experienced a 21% higher probability of dying early.
Participants with heart rates between 80 and 100 beats in a minute were around 45% more at risk of passing away at an earlier age, from all causes.
The highest risk was among those whose pulse surpassed 100, because this suggested disruptions in the autonomic nervous system, as well as in the body’s hormonal activity. Such alterations indicated the onset of “serious heart problems” or a rapid evolution in cardiovascular illness.
More precisely, every time resting heart rate rose by 10 beats per minutes, this led to a 9% exacerbation in the likelihood of premature death. In addition, it became 8% more probable that the patient would die as a result of cardiovascular disease.
Therefore, study authors believe that more attention should be given to this health indicator, whose importance hasn’t been fully fathomed until now. Apparently, just by determining resting heart rate, it may be possible to establish with accuracy the possibility of dying in the near future.
As specified by the American Heart Association, normal heart rates when the individual is resting in a seated or supine position (lying while facing upwards) tend to be between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
It’s relatively simple to check someone’s pulse this way: one need only place two fingers on the artery located on the inside of the wrist, below the thumb, and count the number of beats in a minute.
Although usually just values over 100 are considered to be alarming, corresponding to tachycardia, it appears that even readings within the normal range can actually be problematic and suggestive of overall poor health.
Given these findings, researchers recommend closely monitoring resting heart rates, and engaging in regular physical activity, which can help heartbeats become less accelerated. For instance, professional athletes tends to have much lower pulse, at around 40 beats per minute.
Meanwhile, Dr. Gregg Fonarrow, professor of cardiology at the University of California, has declared that follow-up research should be conducted in order to establish with greater certainty a connection between resting heart rate and premature mortality.
As he explained, it may be that elevated pulse is the result of leading a sedentary life, and isn’t actually an indicator of heart disease.
Experts should also test if lifestyle changes such as exercising and taking medication on a daily basis can indeed assist in lowering the pulse, so that health outcomes can be changed for the better.
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