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Is High Resting Heart Rate Linked to Diabetes and Obesity?

Posted Dec 23 2008 12:55pm
Heart rate is the number of heartbeats per minute. It can be determined by taking the pulse. Resting heart rate is a person’s heart rate at rest. It varies with age, size, sex, and overall cardiovascular condition. The best time to get one’s resting heart rate is in the morning before getting out of bed.

It is the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which is a network of neurons in the body operating without conscious thought that regulates the heart rate. It is believed that the large intestine, blood vessels, pupil dilation, perspiration and blood pressure are affected by heart rate.

A recent report, published in the American Journal of Hypertension in December 2008, revealed that high resting heart rates might be linked to the development of diabetes and obesity. Researchers in Japan found that people with resting heart rates of over 80 beats per minute had a higher chance of developing insulin resistance, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

As one of the first few studies to examine the impact of heart rates on human body’s metabolism, the project involved 614 participants who were followed over a period of 20 years. These participants were divided into 4 groups: people with heart rates of below 60, 60-69, 70-79, and over 80.

In comparison with people with heart rates below 60, those having heart rates of above 80 were 1.34 times more likely to be obese, 1.2 times more likely to develop insulin resistance, and 4.39 times more likely to end up diabetic.

Such findings help depict the link between obesity and the SNS, which might in turn also help understand their casual role in the development of heart attack and stroke, two of the leading causes of death worldwide.

The researchers believe that the excessive nerve activities may be the cause that a person becomes obese since they reduce the amount of fat burnt in the body.
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