People who want to stay healthy should keep an eye on their resting heart rate as medical experts reveal that it could predict the likelihood of premature death in middle-aged men.
The resting heart rate is the number of heart beats per minute while the body is resting. Normal range is from 50 to 100 beats per minute, but new research sought to determine whether there are negative effects to a resting heart rate that lies on the higher end of the normal spectrum.
A Comprehensive Study On The Implications Of Resting Heart Rate
In a study published in the journal Open Heart, researchers analyzed data from a randomly selected group of males with an age of 50 or higher. All the participants were born in 1943 in Gothenburg, Sweden.
The group 798 men underwent a comprehensive medical checkup in 1993, which included their resting heart rate. In 2003 and 2014, participants who were still living and willing were tested once again for their resting heart rate.
Over a monitoring period of 21 years, 119 of the men died before the age of 71, 237 developed cardiovascular disease, and 113 developed coronary heart disease.
Study findings show that the men with a resting heart rate of more than 75 beats per minute at the age of 50 in 1993 double their risk of death from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and coronary heart disease compared to the men with a resting heart rate of just 55 beats per minute or lower.
On the other hand, a resting heart rate that remained stable from 1993 to 2003, when the participants were 50 to 60 years old, translated to a 44 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease in the next 11 years compared to a resting heart rate that increased within this decade.
Even more significantly, every additional beat increase of the resting heart rate was associated with a 3 percent higher risk of death from any cause, a 1 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease, and a 2 percent higher risk of coronary heart disease.
Experts Recommend Checking Heart Rate Regularly
Since the resting heart rate can be influenced by many factors, Dr. Jason Wasfy, director of quality and analytics at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center, recommends to check the resting heart rate a few times a week at different parts of the day.
Patients who are at the higher end of the range may consult a medical professional to find out how they can lower their resting heart rate.
"In certain cases, a lower resting heart rate can mean a higher degree of physical fitness, which is associated with reduced rates of cardiac events like heart attacks," Wasfy explains in Harvard Health. "However, a high resting heart rate could be a sign of an increased risk of cardiac risk in some situations, as the more beats your heart has to take eventually takes a toll on its overall function."