Harvard Heart Letter

Beats per minute a signal of heart health

Slowing your heart rate with exercise and stress reduction may help you enjoy more beats.

Most visits to the doctor include a check of your heart rate. It's such a simple measurement, done by determining your pulse near the wrist or at the fingertip with a clip-on sensor. Yet little is done with this bit of information unless your heart rate is unusually high or low.

That may be changing. Experts are rediscovering that faster resting heart rates are linked to the development of cholesterol-clogged coronary arteries, chest pain, and shorter lives. This new attention is sparked, in part, by new drugs that slow the heart rate. You needn't "" and shouldn't "" wait for them. Safe, effective ways to slow the heart rate are already at your disposal.

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