Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

High heart rate at rest signals higher risk of death even in fit healthy people

Date:
April 15, 2013
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
A high heart rate (pulse) at rest is linked to a higher risk of death even in physically fit, healthy people, suggests new research.

The higher the resting heart rate, the higher was the risk of death, irrespective of fitness level.
Credit: Fotolia

A resting heart rate -- the number of heart beats per minute -- is determined by an individual's level of physical fitness, circulating hormones, and the autonomic nervous system. A rate at rest of between 60 and 100 beats per minute is considered normal.

People who are very physically active tend to have a low heart rate at rest, but the authors wanted to find out if heart rate had any bearing on an individual's risk of death, irrespective of their level of cardiorespiratory fitness.

They therefore tracked the health of just under 3000 men for 16 years, all of whom were part of the Copenhagen Male Study. This was set up in 1970-71 to monitor the cardiovascular health of middle aged men at 14 large companies in Copenhagen.

In 1971 all participants were interviewed by a doctor about their health and lifestyle, including smoking and exercise, and given a check-up. Their cardiorespiratory fitness was assessed using a cycling test, set at three different levels of exertion.

In 1985-6, just under 3000 of these original participants were given a further check-up, to include measurements of height, weight, blood pressure, blood fats and blood glucose. Their resting heart rate was also recorded (ECG and VO2Max).

Sixteen years later in 2001, the researchers checked national Danish registers to find out which of these men had survived. Almost four out of 10 (39%; 1082) of the men had died by 2001.

Unsurprisingly, a high resting heart rate was associated with lower levels of physical fitness, higher blood pressure and weight, and higher levels of circulating blood fats. Similarly, men who were physically active tended to have lower resting heart rates.

But the results showed that the higher the resting heart rate, the higher was the risk of death, irrespective of fitness level.

After adjusting for factors likely to influence the results, a resting heart rate of between 51 and 80 beats per minute was associated with a 40 to 50% increased risk of death, while one between 81 and 90 beats per minute doubled the risk, compared with those with the lowest rate. A resting heart rate above 90 beats per minute tripled the risk.

On the basis of their findings, the authors calculated that every 10 to 22 additional beats per minute in resting heart rate increased the risk of death by 16%, overall.

When smoking was factored in, this showed that every 12 to 27 additional heartbeats per minute increased a smoker's risk by 20%, with a 14% increase in risk for every additional 4 to 24 beats per minute for non-smokers.

The authors say that a great deal of attention has focused on resting heart rate as an indicator of longevity, but that it has not been clear whether a high rate is simply an indicator of low levels of physical fitness.

But they conclude: "We found that irrespective of level of physical fitness, subjects with high resting heart rates fare worse than subjects with lower heart rates. This suggests that a high resting heart rate is not a mere marker of poor physical fitness, but is an independent risk factor."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "High heart rate at rest signals higher risk of death even in fit healthy people." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415204911.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2013, April 15). High heart rate at rest signals higher risk of death even in fit healthy people. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415204911.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "High heart rate at rest signals higher risk of death even in fit healthy people." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415204911.htm (accessed September 29, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Is Big Tobacco Voluntarily Warning You About E-Cigs?

Why Is Big Tobacco Voluntarily Warning You About E-Cigs?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Big tobacco companies are voluntarily printing health warnings on their e-cigarette packages — a move some are calling part of a PR strategy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Pediatricians Endorse IUDs, Implants For Teens

Why Pediatricians Endorse IUDs, Implants For Teens

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) New recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics point to intrauterine devices and implants as good forms of birth control for teens. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins