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One of the easiest and possibly most effective ways to measure yourself, which can be done with two fingers in 30 seconds. Resting Heart Rate (RHR) – the number of heartbeats per minute at rest – measurement is real – a snapshot of how your heart muscle is working.
How Often Should You Get Your Heart Checked
It’s easy to do. Place your index and middle fingers on your wrist under your thumb or on either side of your neck to feel your pulse. Use a watch to count the number of strokes in 30 seconds and double that to get your strokes per minute. Repeat this a few times to ensure an accurate reading. While a heart rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute is considered normal, most relaxed adults have a resting heart rate of less than 90 beats per minute.
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When your resting heart rate is considered in the context of other markers such as blood pressure and cholesterol, it can help identify potential problems and assess your current heart.
“In certain cases, a lower resting heart rate may translate to higher fitness, which is associated with a reduced incidence of heart disease such as heart attacks,” says Dr. Jason Wasfy, director of quality and analytics at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General. Hospital heart center. “However, a high resting heart rate can be a sign of increased heart risk in certain situations, because the more beats your heart has to take ultimately affects its overall function.”
In fact, studies have found that a resting heart rate between 60 and 100 can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and even early death.
Followed the cardiovascular performance of about 3,000 men over 16 years and found that a high resting heart rate was associated with lower physical fitness and higher blood pressure, body weight, and circulating lipid levels. The researchers also discovered that the higher a person’s resting heart rate, the greater the risk of premature death. Specifically, an RHR between 81 and 90 doubled the odds of death, while an RHR higher than 90 tripled it.
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While a low resting heart rate often indicates greater fitness, some situations can cause your RHR to drop too low, which can cause occasional dizziness or fatigue. “This may be due to aging of the heart’s electrical junctions or improper transmission of electrical signals,” says Dr. Wasfy. “You should report these symptoms to your care provider.”
Dr. Wasfy recommends checking your resting heart rate a few times a week and at different times of the day. Keep in mind that many factors can affect the number, including stress and anxiety, circulating hormones, and medications such as certain antidepressants and some blood pressure medications.
Talk to your doctor if your resting heart rate is regularly high. It can be lowered and kept in the right range. One example is controlling cholesterol levels. High levels restrict blood flow through the arteries and damage blood vessels, which can cause your heart to beat faster than normal to move blood through your body.
Another reliable way to lower your resting heart rate is through exercise. “Even small amounts of exercise can make a difference,” says Dr. Wasfy. However, exercise intensity is key. One study of 55-year-old adults found that just one hour per week of high-intensity aerobic exercise (about 66% of maximal effort) lowered RHR more effectively than low-intensity exercise. (33% of maximum effort).
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Matthew Solan is the executive editor of Harvard Men’s Watch. He previously served as managing editor of UCLA y Years magazine and as a contributor to Duke Medicine News and Weill Cornell Medical College.
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Lifestyle Tips To Keep Heart Healthy & Disease At Bay
In Heart Failure: Understanding the Condition and Optimizing Treatment, you’ll learn the mechanics of the heart, the symptoms and warning signs of heart failure, and the keys to an effective treatment plan. This report will help you understand and invest in the steps you need to take to control heart failure. You’ll get guidance on how to monitor your symptoms, stick to your doctor’s strategy, and make heart-smart lifestyle changes.
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Sign up for lifestyle tips, ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive performance, as well as the latest advances in preventive medicine, diet and exercise, pain management, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.
Get helpful tips and guidance on everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best weight loss diets… from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on how to treat cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from experts at Harvard Medical School. The best way to prevent heart disease is to understand and manage your risk factors. For many people, this can be as simple as scheduling an annual check-up with their primary care physician to check for the following:
Proactive Steps Can Reduce Chances Of Second Heart Attack
Knowing these numbers can help determine if you need to make lifestyle changes or seek additional treatment for possible heart disease.
“In patients with two or more risk factors who have symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or an irregular heart rhythm, we would consider further cardiac testing,” says cardiologist Chandrakant Pujara, M.D.
When and why: If you have risk factors for an enlarged heart, such as high blood pressure, or symptoms of heart disease, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, or an irregular heart rhythm. If you have a family history of heart disease, diabetes, or other risk factors and want to start an exercise program, this test may be helpful.
When and why: If you have symptoms of heart disease, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heart rhythm, or pounding heartbeats. If you have a family history of heart disease, diabetes, or other risk factors and want to start an exercise program, this test may be helpful.
Monitor Your Heart Rate With Apple Watch
An echocardiogram uses ultrasound to look at the size and shape of your heart to check for abnormalities in the heart’s valves, chambers, walls, and blood vessels.
When and why: If your doctor believes that symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath are the result of a problem with the structure of your heart.
Calcium assessment uses a computed tomography (CT) scan and looks for calcium build-up in plaque on the artery walls.
When and why: If you have an average risk of heart disease, this test can help determine your risk of heart attack, stroke, or heart disease. Your doctor may use the results to change your treatment plan or make lifestyle changes.
What Should My Heart Rate Be And What Affects It?
Although these tests can be useful for the proper diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, they are not for everyone. It is important to speak with your cardiologist or primary care physician to determine if and when you should have these screenings.
“The choice and frequency of advanced testing should be discussed with your doctor,” says Dr. Pujara. “Prevention is often more beneficial than fancy (and sometimes expensive) procedures that don’t work for everyone.”
If you have a family history or risk factors for heart disease, it’s important to educate yourself about your condition and know what you can do to prevent a more serious heart problem. Screenings with your doctor can give you the tools and information you need to make lifestyle changes or seek further treatment.
Dr. Pujara added that it’s important to be educated about everything from prevention to screening and treatment in managing potential heart disease. Many of the major risk factors for heart disease can be modified, tested and controlled through lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise. Is your heart healthy? Can you run up the stairs without panting? What can you do to keep your heart happy and healthy? If you’re looking for answers to these questions, read on to learn more.
High Blood Pressure Before Age 40 Linked To Earlier Strokes, Heart Disease
Genetics can play a big role in causing you to develop heart disease, meaning that if you have a family history of heart disease, you are at a higher risk of developing it. You may inherit diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure and other heart related problems from your parents or grandparents.
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