Higher Middle-Age Heart Rates Increase Diabetes Risk Later in Life

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By: Patrick Totty

Researchers tracking heart rates as a predictor of life expectancy have found that higher-than-normal heart rates in middle-aged people increase their risk of developing diabetes later in life.

The Northwestern University study examined the medical histories of 15,000 non-diabetic people between the ages of 35 and 64 whose resting heart rates had been measured between 1967 and 1973. Researchers then followed up on what happened to participants after the age of 65. They found that 410 had died from diabetes-related causes and that 1,877 had made diabetes-related hospital claims.

Researchers extrapolated from the data that each increase of 12 beats per minute in the resting heart rate increased a middle-aged person’s (ages 35-49) chance of acquiring diabetes later in life by 10 percent.

The study concluded that “Our findings provide further evidence that higher heart rate is associated with adverse morbidity and mortality from a number of causes including diabetes.”

Source: Diabetes Care, February 2008.

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