Men in particular who have a higher beats-per-minute score are twice as likely to die prematurely from any cause—and not just heart disease—than someone in their fifties with a lower bpm.
It's not known if women face similar risks because researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden only tracked a group of 798 men, all 50 years and older, whose rpm was measured in 1993. They were assessed again in 2003 and 2014, by which time 119 of the participants had died before their 71st birthday, 237 developed cardiovascular disease and 113 had coronary heart disease.
Those whose resting heart rate was above 75 when it was first measured in 1993 were twice as likely to die prematurely than someone whose rate was 55 or below.
Men whose rate remained stable between 1993 and 2003 were 44 per cent less likely to develop cardiovascular disease over the following 11 years. The researchers reckon that every additional beat is linked to a 3 per cent increased risk of death from any cause.
But, of course, the beats-per-minute score is an indicator of health, and a high score doesn't cause disease. As the researchers pointed out, the participants with the higher score in their fifties were also more likely to be smokers and were more stressed than those with a lower score.