Higher heart rate at rest is risky

Higher heart rate at rest is risky

The study, presented at the on-going Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Montreal, says that a higher heart rate at rest in people raises considerably their risk of dying from cardiovascular and other causes.

Presented by McMaster University cardiologist and professor Eva Lonn and her team, the study is based on data gleaned from more than 31,000 heart patients in two clinical studies that followed them for four years.

The researchers concluded that people with higher heart rate at rest faced a shorter life expectancy.According to the study, the heart rate at rest among healthy people varies from 60 to 100 beats. Those in great shape may have a resting heart rate of even less than 50 beats and among top athletes it can even go below 40 beats per minute.

Using the data from 31,500 patients, the researchers found that compared to patients with the lowest heart rate (of 58 beats per minute), those with the higher heart rate (of 70 beats) faced a 23 percent higher risk of a stroke and a 38 percent increased risk of death within four years.

They also faced twice as much risk of being hospitalized with heart failure than those with the lowest heart rate.According to the study, a low heart rate is less stressful on the blood vessels and inhibits cholesterol formation, thus reducing risks of heart attacks.

"What we can say is the faster the heart rate, the higher the risk. And definitely, an over 70 resting heart rate seems to identify people at increased risk of dying,'' Lonn said at the presentation of the study at the annual cardiovascular congress which concludes Wednesday.

According to the study, people should avoid smoking, chronic stress and a sedentary lifestyle that contribute to a higher heart beat rate at rest.