Faster heart rate correlated with a higher risk of diabetes


A study released by Penn State University, and published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, has associated a higher heart rate with diabetes, acting as a novel pre-clinical marker or risk factor for diabetes. The longitudinal study consisted of 73,357 Chinese adults whose heart rates were measured during a baseline exam administered in 2006-2007.

After about five minutes rest, their recorded heart rates were measured using a 12-lead electrocardiogram with participants lying on their backs. Researchers determined that faster heart rates were associated with impaired fasting glucose levels and a conversion from impaired fasting glucose levels to diabetes among the same population.

“In this study, we measured resting heart rate among about 100,000 Chinese adults and followed them for four years,” said Xiang Gao, associate professor of nutritional sciences. “We found participants with faster heart rates, suggesting lower automatic function, had increased risk of diabetes, pre-diabetes, and conversion from pre-diabetes to diabetes. Each additional 10 beats per minute was associated with 23 percent increased risk of diabetes, similar to the effects of a 3 kilogram per meter square increase in body mass index”.

“We further combined our results with those of seven previously published studies including 97,653 men and women in total, on the same topic, and we found a similar association individuals with fast heart rate had 59 percent increased risk of diabetes relative to those with slow heart rate.”


Liang Wang, Liufu Cui, Yanxue Wang, Anand Vaidya, Shuohua Chen, Caifeng Zhang, Ying Zhu, Dongqing Li, Frank B Hu, Shouling Wu, and Xiang Gao. Resting heart rate and the risk of developing impaired fasting glucose and diabetes: the Kailuan prospective study. International Journal of Epidemiology, May 2015 DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyv079

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