Fast heart rate increases risk of type 2 diabetes, research confirms

by Barbara Hewitt on May 26, 2015

A faster resting heart rate can be linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a new four year study of more than 73,000 adults.

Those whose hearts beat faster than normal were 59% more likely to develop diabetes

Those whose hearts beat faster than normal were 59% more likely to develop diabetes

People whose heart beats quicker than the usual 60 to 100 times a minute while at rest are 59% more likely to develop diabetes, researchers found after combining their latest results with previous published studies.

They also found that greater heart beats per minute was linked to poorer fasting blood sugar levels.

‘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,’ said US researcher Dr. Xiang Gao, associate professor of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University.

‘Each additional 10 beats per minute was associated with 23% increased risk of diabetes, similar to the effects of a three kilogram per metre square increase in body mass index (BMI),’ he added.

During the four year follow-up period, the scientists identified 17,463 pre-diabetic cases and 4,649 diabetes cases. They then took the results and combined them with data from seven previous studies involving almost 100,000 men and women.

‘We 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, namely that  individuals with fast heart rate had 59% increased risk of diabetes relative to those with slow heart rate,’ explained Gao.

He pointed out that the results suggests that faster heart rate could be a regarded as a new pre-clinical marker or risk factor for diabetes.

He also explained that while all participants of the latest study were employees of the Kailuan Coal Company in China, linking the results with the previous studies allowed the researchers to include participants from different social and cultural backgrounds, which confirmed the association between heart rate and diabetes risk.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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