People whose resting heart rate (RHR) increases over time may face an elevated risk of death from heart disease, scientists say.
According to a study of nearly 30,000 men and women, those whose RHR rose over a ten-year period were more likely to die than those whose RHR remained below 70 beats per minute.
Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology said that their findings, which are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, indicate RHR may be an ‘important prognostic marker’ for ischaemic heart disease.
However, they added that the results only applied to apparently healthy individuals, and that further research is needed to show whether they are also relevant to less healthy people.
Amy Thompson, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said it is impossible to draw firm conclusions from the study as the results are ‘only suggestive’.
However, she conceded that it acts as a reminder of the importance of heart health.
‘Being physically active is a great way to keep your heart muscle well conditioned and reduce the workload of your heart,’ Ms Thompson advised.
‘Controlling your weight and giving up those cigarettes will also take the pressure off your heart, and reduce your risk of heart disease.’