Heart rate and blood pressure.

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Hi everyone. I would be interested in your views on whether you believe that there is a relationship between heart rate (at rest) and blood pressure? My bp monitor always gives me my heart rate, which I guess is standard? But I got to thinking (my wife says this is dangerous for me!) why do bp monitors register heart rate unless there was a link to bp? I have "googled" it and can't find anything that is definitive. My resting heart rate hovers around 60 BPM which is quite good apparently. How much attention do you all take of the heart rate readings on your monitors? 

Thanking you in anticipation!

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  • Posted

    Hi Fisherman

    My resting heart rate on Losartan Potassium hovers around the 50's/60's it seems, whether my systolic BP registers in the 150's or 180's.  So no link to BP there.

    Although it seems to be stable these days, some years ago I suffered from an irregular heartbeat (arrythmia) and taking my BP at the time with my then home monitor (including the similar monitor machines at the surgery) always resulted in an unusually low reading for me, whereas when it was taken with the traditional sphygmomanometer, showed my usual higher readings.  So it became obvious to me that the home monitors could give innaccurate readings for those with an irregular heartbeat.

    I queried this with the manufacturers of my home machine and sure enough they confirmed that the readings relied on a normal heart rate!  Not good for those people walking around with uknown irregular heartbeats who might be relying on their home monitors for their BP results.   Needless to say I passed this information on to my surgery and gradually noticed the automatic machines that had been appearing on every GP/nurses' desks there were gradually being replaced with a return of the traditional way of taking BP.

    Now I don't know whether this problem has been addressed in the more recent up-to-date home monitors on the market.  When time allows I might give the manufacturers another ring.  Meanwhile, perhaps it would be wise for everyone to occasionally check their pulse at their wrist manually rather than rely on the monitor heartrate?  

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  • Posted

    Here's an excerpt from a 2012 review of HR and BP you may find relevant:

    Elevated heart rate is associated with elevated blood pressure, increased risk for hypertension, and, among hypertensives, increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Despite these important relationships, heart rate is generally not a major consideration in choosing antihypertensive medications. In part, this is due to a lack of evidence supporting heart rate lowering as a therapeutic strategy in hypertension. Additionally, while there is a positive correlation between heart rate and peripheral blood pressure, there is an inverse relationship between heart rate and central blood pressure. The use of antihypertensive medications, specifically medications that affect heart rate, may not reliably reduce central blood pressure to a similar extent as observed peripherally.

    Curr Hypertens Rep. Dec 2012; 14(6): 478–484.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your post Nick (and Mrs O). It would appear that heart rate readings are a "nice to have" rather than a "must have" feature on home monitors. 

      For some weird reason I still like reading it and get satisfaction if readings are consistent. 

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    • Posted

      Your welcome! I like it too. That definitely seems true.. if you're keeping track of hypertension and you had to pick only one, you'd go with the blood pressure over heart rate for sure. But having more data can't hurt!
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