Faster Heart Rate Linked to Dementia
Having a faster heartbeat when you are relaxed (your resting heart rate) appears to be linked to a higher risk of developing rapidly progressing cognitive decline and dementia, Swedish researchers reported online Dec. 3, 2021, in Alzheimer’s & Dementia. In their study of 2,147 individuals with a mean age of 71 at enrollment, those with a resting heart rate of 80 beats per minutes (bpm) or more had a 55% greater risk of developing dementia than those whose resting heart rate was 60 to 69 bpm. The relationship held true whether or not participants had cardiovascular disease. The study participants with higher resting heart rates tended to be older, less educated, be physically inactive and have hypertension, the researchers noted. The study found that a faster heart rate was associated with cognitive decline and dementia. To prove it causes mental deterioration will require additional studies. If the association proves to be causal, however, taking steps to slow a fast resting heart rate might help prevent cognitive decline and dementia or, at minimum, slow their development, the authors said.