Background: Inflammation is an important underlying mechanism in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, and an elevated resting heart rate underlies the process of atherosclerotic plaque formation. We hypothesized an association between resting heart rate and subclinical inflammation. Methods: Resting heart rate was recorded at baseline in the KoGES-ARIRANG (Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study on Atherosclerosis Risk of Rural Areas in the Korean General Population) cohort study, and was then divided into quartiles. Subclinical inflammation was measured by white blood cell count and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. We used progressively adjusted regression models with terms for muscle mass, body fat proportion, and adiponectin in the fully adjusted models. We examined inflammatory markers as both continuous and categorical variables, using the clinical cut point of the highest quartile of white blood cell count (≥7,900/mm3) and ≥3 mg/dL for high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. Results: Participants had a mean age of 56.3±8.1 years and a mean resting heart rate of 71.4±10.7 beats/min; 39.1% were men. In a fully adjusted model, an increased resting heart rate was significantly associated with a higher white blood cell count and higher levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in both continuous (P for trend <0.001) and categorical (P for trend <0.001) models. Conclusion: An increased resting heart rate is associated with a higher level of subclinical inflammation among healthy Korean people.
- C-reactive protein
- Heart rate