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Medical News & Perspectives |

High Heart Rate May Raise Health Risks

Mike Mitka
JAMA. 2010;304(9):949-950. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1217.
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Individuals hear constant reminders to know their blood pressure and cholesterol levels and to seek treatment when the numbers suggest increased risk for cardiovascular problems. Some experts say that both patients and their physicians should pay the same attention to heart rate.

A rapid resting heart rate, but one considered to be within the normal range (generally 60-100 beats/min), is frequently dismissed during a routine annual checkup, with the high beat count attributed to white-coat syndrome. Also, a high but normal heart rate may not garner much concern from an examining physician if it is associated with confounding factors such as being overweight or being unfit, as getting a patient to lose weight or exercise will reduce cardiovascular disease risk and lower the heart rate as a bonus.

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While considered to be in the normal range, a resting heart rate above 80 beats per minute significantly increases an individual's risk for coronary heart disease and total mortality.

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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