Find out what can happen if stress is causing your resting heart rate to be in the 90s.

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Have you noticed that whenever you take your resting heart rate, it’s in the 90s, even though you’ve been at rest, have not smoked, have not ingested a lot of caffeine and are negative for hyperthyroidism or anemia (which both cause high resting heart rate)?

Frequently being in a state of anxiety or chronic stress can cause the resting heart rate to often register in the 90s.

Can this cause harm to your heart, even though otherwise you’re healthy?

“Resting heart rate in the 90s is still usually considered normal,” says Dr. Sameer Sayeed, a cardiologist at ColumbiaDoctors of Somers, NY.

“The Mayo Clinic defines a normal heart rate as between 60 and 100. So being in the 90s is still considered to be normal and likely won’t harm the heart.”

But isn’t a slower resting heart rate better?

“Of course, if possible, it is always better to have a lower resting heart rate if possible, closer to the 60 goal,” says Dr. Sayeed.

“This is due to the fact that higher heart rates tend to cause increased production of inflammatory molecules and reactive oxygen species which can damage the heart, and a higher heart rate tends to cause more mechanical stress on the heart.”

If you can’t avoid situations that cause stress, or are prone to feeling a lot of anxiety, even to trivial triggers, you can fight against a resting pulse in the 90s by consuming a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits, which are high in antioxidants, which will help neutralize the reactive oxygen species.

Another way to help bring the resting pulse down from the 90s is to regularly engage in rigorous cardio exercise.

“In someone with coronary disease or heart disease already present, higher heart rates can lead to ischemia (blocked oxygen supply) and further damage to the heart,” says Dr. Sayeed.

Dr. Sayeed performs echocardiograms and stress tests at the Midtown Manhattan and Westchester offices at Columbia Doctors. He is also trained in cardiac CT imaging.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.