Heart rate is the number of times the heart beats per minute. The Resting Heart Rate (RHR) would seem to be an obvious variable in health and longevity, especially as it concerns heart diseases.
What resting heart rate means?
Resting Heart Rate measures not just the integrity and health of the heart. It also measures the overall health of the blood and the tissues it oxygenates. The nervous and hormonal systems, which play important roles in setting heart rate is also related to the RHR.
A good deal of research has looked into the association between RHR and cardiovascular disease (CVD). CVD is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and numerous other countries.
In all cases, the research has found that a low resting heart rate means a low death rate. Whereas, a high resting heart rate is linked to a high death rate.
Since there’s an abundance of research in this area, let’s just look at one recent study. “Elevated resting heart rate is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease in healthy men and women”.
The study was made in Finland. The Finns take a keen interest in heart disease because their country is one of the world’s highest rate of heart disease.
The subject population consisted of 10, 519 men and 11.334 women, more than enough to generate solid data. Follow-up time for any individual in the study ranged from 6 to 27 years from the time that RHR was measured. Median follow-up time was 12 years.
Subjects who had a previous heart attack were being treated for high blood pressure or had heart failure or angina (chest pain) were excluded, so the study was looking at people who showed no signs of heart disease.
The research conclusion found a strong, graded, independent relationship between RHR and incident cardiovascular disease was demonstrated. This was consistent in healthy men and women.