High heart rate is risk factor for death, not just a sign of poor fitness, study indicates

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f2429 (Published 16 April 2013)
Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2429

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  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1BMJ

Danish researchers have said that a high heart rate may be an independent risk factor for mortality, after finding that men with higher rates were more likely to die even if they were physically fit.1

The researchers tracked the health of just under 3000 men who were part of the Copenhagen Male Study, set up in 1970 to monitor the cardiovascular health of men aged 40 to 59 years at 14 large companies in Copenhagen.

In 1971 a doctor asked all participants about their health and lifestyle, including smoking and exercise, and examined them. A cycling test was used to test their cardiorespiratory fitness at three different levels of exertion.

In 1985-6, when the …

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