Monday, January 20, 2020

I'm interested in my HRR

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.  According to statistics appearing on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, heart disease leads the top ten pack, accounting for 31 percent of all deaths for 2017, the latest-published information.

National Center for Health Statistics - USA Numbers for Leading Causes of Death

  • Heart disease: 647,457
  • Cancer: 599,108
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404
  • Diabetes: 83,564
  • Influenza and pneumonia: 55,672
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,633
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,173
The above statistics are for all ages, both male and female.  Since Pierini Fitness will be a “newly-crowned” Medicare Man next month, he decided to see what the statistics are for age 65 years and above males.  According to the same source, for males age 65 years and older all races and origins, diseases of the heart contributed to 27 percent of all deaths for 2017.  This was surprising in that the percentage for all age groups male and female.

Nonetheless, it’s too high for Pierini Fitness and has opened his eyes to the importance of doing everything possible for his cardiovascular conditioning and health.  Obviously, diet is important, yet what the best way to eat for good cardiovascular health is a topic of heated discussion among the many nutrition expert factions in the world all believing they know best.  I’ll say nothing more about cardiovascular health nutrition in this post, saving that discussion, perhaps, for a different day.

But I continue to believe that exercise does contribute to my cardiovascular conditioning and health.  To have some objective way of assessing, I like numbers, such as heart rate statistics obtained from my Garmin heart rate fitness monitor that I capture with each workout.  I’m an analytical junkie when it comes to my fitness, health and wellness.

Last year, about this time, I reported the results of a YMCA Bench Step Test for Cardiovascular Fitness.  This test rated my performance as excellent, so I was pleased. 

I recently read an article written by a medical doctor cardiologist who goes by the cyberspace name of The Skeptical Cardiologist.  He has a website where he shares his unbiased and evidence-based articles he has written discussing the effects of diet, drugs and procedures on heart disease.

The article I read shared the doctor’s experience in measuring his heart rate recovery (HRR) after a workout he did and how research evidence indicates that HRR is a simple and powerful predictor of mortality.  

What’s HRR?

It’s the rate of decline in heart rate after you quit exercising.  It’s measured by taking your heart rate (beats per minute of bpm) right after you stop exercising and again a minute later (and/or two minutes later) and subtract one from the other.

The Skeptical Cardiologist’s article referred to a 1999 study that reported the results of a cardiovascular research study measuring HRR and mortality risk.  In the research, the median HRR was 17 bpm but 26 percent had an HRR of less than 13 bpm. Patients with an HRR of less than 13 bpm had a double risk of dying.

Another follow-up study of about 10 thousand patients found that an HRR of less than 13 bpm doubled the 5-year risk of death.

Yet another study reported that a 2-minute HRR of less than 22 bpm provided a better measure predicting mortality at seven years than the one-minute test.

While regularly measuring heart rate performance during my workouts, the HRR stat hasn’t regularly been one of them but it’ll now be moving forward.

Yup, I’m interested in my HRR.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

No comments: