Heart Rate Variability May Be Linked To Increased Mortality In Chronic Kidney Disease Patients

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We all know the importance of being physically active. Well, it is taking on a new importance as research from the Journal of Nephrology, and later published by the Global Kidney Academy found that low Heart Rate Variability (HRV) in Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients was closely associated with death. HRV is the pattern of your heart rhythms. When your heart is rhythmic and balanced you feel great and your immune system is working well. When your heart rhythms are erratic you feel stress, frustration, and poorly overall. 

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Your pulse measures your heart rate (the number of times your heart beats in one minute). Heart rates vary from person to person but your pulse should beat 60 to 100 times per minute, on the average. A pulse reading is simple; using your first three fingers (not including the thumb) apply light pressure against the thumb side of the wrist. When determining a pulse rate, count each pulsation for 10 seconds and multiply the number by six. The computed amount is the pulse rate. If a wrist pulse cannot be found, another site is on the side of the neck.

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Heart rates remain low due to stress, sedentary lifestyle, and high blood pressure to name a few; but it typically occurs without you even really noticing. Still, there are some really easy steps you can and should take to correct low HRV. 

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One of the best ways to safely increase your heart rate is through aerobic exercise which includes walking, hiking, water aerobics or light cycling. Also, limiting your stress level by meeting with your Social Worker, talking to family and friends, and/or working with a Therapist can go a long way to avoiding anxiety and depression.

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It gets more simple. The American Heart Association notes that warmer air temperatures can increase your heart rate around five to 10 beats per minute. Although it may not sound likely, heat can improve your overall health. However, be sure not to over exert yourself in the heat as it may cause lightheadedness, dizziness and further heart complications. 

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Moreover, by training your breathing so that the exhale is twice the length of the inhale, you can improve your HRV. There is research showing that a breathing rate of 6 breaths per minute can reduce blood pressure. Apps available on your smart phone and other mobile devices can measure your heart rate and provide visual and audio feedback.  

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References: 

"Monitoring Heart Rate: Normal Pulse, Target Heart Rate, and More." Http://www.webmd.com/. WebMD, LLC.

"Heart Rate Variability." Http://www.improvingmovement.com/. Improving Movement LLC.

Furuland H1, Linde T, Englund A, Wikström B. "Heart Rate Variability Is Decreased in Chronic Kidney Disease but May Improve with Hemoglobin Normalization." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web.

Voza, Luann. "The Average Normal Pulse Rate." LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.

P.E. Drawz, D.C. Babineau, C. Brecklin, J. He, R.R. Kallem, E.Z. Soliman, D. Xie, D. Appleby, A.H. Anderson, M. Rahman, CRIC Study Investigators. "Heart Rate Variability Is a Predictor of Mortality in Chronic Kidney Disease: A Report from the CRIC Study." Http://www.gkaonlineacademy.com/. GKA Online Academy.

"4 Ways to Increase Your Heart Rate." LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.

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