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Heart Disease Health Center

Increase in Resting Heart Rate Over Time Linked to Heart Disease Death

Study Suggests Regularly Checking Pulse to See Where You Stand
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Understanding Changes in Resting Heart Rate

Robert J. Myerburg, MD, is a professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine who for 31 years served as chief of the school’s division of cardiology. “We have known for a long time that a higher heart rate is associated with increased risk for heart disease,” he says.

The people in the new study were healthy, he points out. The new study findings may not apply to people with heart disease.

Don’t panic about these findings, says Kousik Krishnan, MD. He is director of the Arrhythmia Device Clinic at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “People who have a heart rate that goes up over time may have some other underlying condition,” he says. “If you have a resting heart rate that is over 100, ask your doctor to do a physical exam to see if something else is going on.”

Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, says the study provides empowering information. She is a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “Resting heart rate gives us an indication about our heart health,” she says. “The best way to keep your resting heart rate down is aerobic exercise.”

This means that if your resting heart rate is edging up, your activity level has probably taken a dive. “You are still in control,” she says. “Start exercising more and see a doctor to make sure something else isn’t going on.”

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