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Resting heart rate can cause death

A woman's chance of dying from a heart attack rises 18% for every 10 beat increase in her resting heart rate, research has suggested.

But, the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health study says that regular exercise can reduce the impact of a higher resting heart rate.

About 50,000 healthy adults, aged 20 and above, had their cardiovascular health tracked in the study for an average of 18 years between 1984-6 up to the end of 2004.

During the study, resting heart rate - and other factors known to influence cardiovascular disease - were tested. A higher resting heart rate led to a greater risk of death - particularly from heart attacks and angina.

Women with a resting heart rate of 101 bpm were found to be 42% more likely to die in the study.

Also, the study showed that resting heart rate problems were common among people younger than 70 - who were more than twice as likely to die of a heart attack.

However, women who did more exercise had a lower risk of dying from heart disease - regardless of their resting heart rate.

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health