In a new study, researchers found that men who have a resting heart rate higher than 75 per minute in their mid-life have a much higher risk of early death.
The research was conducted by
Resting heart rate is the number of heart beats per minute when the body is at rest.
Previous research has shown that resting heart rate usually changes with age. People with lower rates have better cardiovascular fitness and better heart function.
A resting heart rate of 50 to 100 beats per minute (bpm) is within the normal range.
In the study, the team aimed to find out what impact a resting heart rate might have on long term health and risk of early death.
They studied a group of men aged 50 and older from the general population. These men had been born in 1943 in Gothenburg, Sweden.
In 1993, 798 out of a total of 1450 men filled in questionnaires on lifestyle, family history of heart disease, and stress levels. Their resting heart rate was checked.
Their heart rates were divided into four categories: 55 or fewer bpm; 56-65 bpm; 66-75 bpm; and more than 75 bpm.
Their resting heart rate was measured again in 2003 and 2014.
The researchers found that men whose resting heart rate in 1993 was higher than 55 bpm were more likely to be smokers, less physically active, and more stressed.
They were also more likely to have other heart disease risk factors like higher blood pressure and obesity.
Moreover, a resting heart rate of 75+ bpm in 1993 was linked to a twofold higher risk of death from any cause, from heart disease, and from coronary heart disease, compared with a resting heart rate of 55 or below.
For men who have a resting heart rate that was stable between 1993 and 2003, they had a 44% lower risk of heart disease over the next 11 years.
On the contrary, an increase in the heart rate is linked to higher risks of heart disease, coronary heart disease, and early death from any cause.
The team suggests that monitoring changes in resting heart rate over time may be important for identifying future heart disease risk in men.
The study is published in the online journal Open Heart.
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