Women's Heart Advisor July 2009 Issue

High Resting Heart Rate Could Help Predict Future Heart Attack

Exercise, however, can help lower your resting heart rate, and a low-fat diet and smoking cessation will also help.

A study published in the February 4 online issue of the British Medical Journal has established that middle-aged women with a high resting heart rate are at increased risk of heart attack. Although the increase in risk was not equal to that conferred by high LDL cholesterol, it was significant enough that the authors recommended physicians routinely test resting heart rate in their female patients. The study was based on data from 129,135 postmenopausal women who participated in the Women’s Health Study. They were divided into five groups by resting heart rate and followed for 7.8 years. No unusual risk was found among women in the first four quintiles. However, the group with heart rates of 76 beats per minute or more had a 26 percent increased risk of heart attack.

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