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Medical News & Perspectives
September 1, 2010

High Heart Rate May Raise Health Risks

JAMA. 2010;304(9):949-950. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1217

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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