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Jump in Resting Heart Rate Increases Death Risk

by Dr. Gabe Mirkin, M.D.

People whose heart rates increased from under 70 beats per minute to more than 85 beats per minute over 10 years had a 90 percent increased chance of dying from heart disease, compared to people whose heart rates stayed under 70 beats per minute (Journal of the American Medical Association, December 21, 2011). The average age of those studied was 52. Resting heart rate measurements were taken at the start of the study, and again 10 years later.

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First thing when you wake up in the morning, count your pulse in your neck. If it is above 70 beats per minute, you probably should try to follow a heart attack prevention program. People who have resting heart rates higher than 85 often have weak hearts and should check with their doctors immediately. They are at high risk for heart disease. A normal resting heart rate is usually between 60 to 70 beats per minute, while healthy endurance athletes often have resting pulse rates below 50. The weaker the heart muscle, the less blood it pumps with each beat. Therefore it has to beat more often.

Most cases of heart disease are reversible with immediate lifestyle changes. Prevention of heart disease includes:
  • Dietary changes: Severely restrict red meat, sugared drinks, all foods with added sugars, and fried foods. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and other seeds.
  • Exercise: Benefits increase markedly when you exercise every day.
  • Avoid smoking or taking more than two drinks a day (A drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, and 2/3rds of a shot glass).
  • Lose weight and fat if overweight
  • Grow muscle
  • Check for vitamin D deficiency.

Dr.Mirkin's reports and opinions are for information only, and are not intended to diagnose or prescribe. For your specific diagnosis and treatment, consult your doctor or health care provider.

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