A higher resting heart rate linked with increased incidence of dementia
03 December 2021
Today (Friday 3 December) researchers have linked an elevated resting heart rate with an increased risk of dementia. The scientific journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia published the findings.
What did the scientists do?
Scientists categorised people’s resting heart rate into four groups:
- Those with a resting heart rate less than 60 beats per minute (bpm)
- Those whose resting heart rate was 60–69 bpm
- Those whose heart rate was 70–79 bpm
- And those over 80bpm
They then looked to see who went on to develop dementia over a 12-year period. Scientists also looked at people’s performance on a memory and thinking test.
What our expert said:
Dr Rosa Sancho, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“Resting heart rate has been linked to risk of heart disease. In this study, researchers investigated whether resting heart rates predicted if someone would go on to develop dementia.
“Looking at findings from a number of existing research studies, researchers found that an elevated heart rate was linked with an increased risk of dementia in a group of older adults. They also found that a resting heart rate above 80bpm was linked with a faster decline in memory and thinking skills.
“While this research doesn’t prove that elevated heart rate causes dementia it highlights a link between the two. We know that looking after our hearts is important, but not many people realise this also helps to keep their brain healthy.
“Research tells us that it’s never too early or late in life to take steps that can help reduce our dementia risk. Evidence suggests that being physically active, and eating a healthy, balanced diet, are just some of the things you can do to lower your risk of dementia. To learn more about how to protect brain health, visit www.thinkbrainhealth.org.uk”