Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Women's hearts safe to beat faster

woman heart
A low heart rate at rest is a sign of good fitness and hence is said to predict a long life as far as the heart may be concerned. This is true for men but not for women, according to a Swedish study: Longevity in women has nothing to do with heart rate at rest.

About five hundred men and an equal number of women have undergone a fitness test where their heart rate has been assessed. All deaths of these persons have been registered up to twenty-six years later. Among men with a heart rate above 75 beats per minute, the percentage of deceased has found to be 63 percent higher than among those with a low heart rate. In women, there is no such difference.

My wife is quite happy about this result because her heart rate is often above the 75 beat level. And I am happy, too, because mine is much lower. Of course we both are aware that this is just statistics and cannot be applied to individual persons. But good news is good news, at least it has some probability to come true.

Take home message: Exercise is one of the best ways to a better and longer life. It may lead to a lower resting heart rate, but the extent and the importance of this effect is different in men and in women.

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