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High Resting Heart Rate: Common Causes

Posted Aug 26 2008 4:03pm 1 Comment

If your resting heart rate is greater than 70, check with your doctor to see if your thyroid is overactive, you are anemic, or you have an infection, hidden tumor, a weak heart or other cause of a rapid heart rate. Having a resting heart rate greater than 70 increases your chances of suffering a heart attack. Journal reference



At this time, there is not enough solid data to show that taking drugs to slow heart rate, by itself, will help to prevent heart disease when no cause is found. However, those with chest pain during exercise or blocked blood flow to the heart do benefit from drugs to slow heart rate. Several ongoing studies are trying to determine if all people with heart rates over 80 should take drugs to slow heart rate. Drugs that can be used to slow heart rate and prevent heart attacks include beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, statins or aspirin.



Your "Recovery Heart Rate" is likely to be even more important. Recovery Heart Rate is a measure of fitness and a slow recovery from exercise means that you are out of shape. This test can cause irregular heart beats in people with damaged hearts, so check with your physician before you try it.



To measure recovery heart rate, you exercise on a treadmill (or any other activity) until you are breathing hard, record your heart rate, and hold that pace for at least a minute. Then stop, and measure your pulse rate exactly one minute after stopping. If your heart does not slow down at least thirty beats in the first minute, you are in poor shape and at increased risk for a heart attack. If your heart rate slows down more than fifty beats in the first minute, you are in excellent shape.



You can also use the recovery heart rate to measure your improvement as you get into shape. More

Comments (1)
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Hi Dr. Gabe,

can you recommend a tool/procedure somebody can use at home in order to evaluate the risk of a heart attack? Not many will go to the doctor just because of the high heart rate. High HR can be an "individual feature" and some people have it since the moment they were born... My patients use Health Snapshot in order to see where they are on the health scale. I'm using in my office Heart Rhythm Scanner on all my patients but it's rather a professional tool. "Go visit a doctor" is not exactly what people are looking for when browsing forums...

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