Association of resting heart rate with cognitive decline and dementia in older adults: A population-based cohort study

Alzheimers Dement. 2022 Oct;18(10):1779-1787. doi: 10.1002/alz.12495. Epub 2021 Dec 3.


Introduction: Resting heart rate (RHR) predicts future risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, longitudinal studies investigating the relationship of RHR with cognitive decline are scarce.

Methods: This population-based cohort study included 2147 participants (age≥60) in SNAC-K who were free of dementia and regularly followed from 2001-2004 to 2013-2016. RHR was assessed with electrocardiogram. Dementia was diagnosed following the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th Revision criteria. Global cognitive function was assessed using Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Data were analyzed using Cox and linear mixed-effects models.

Results: RHR≥80 (vs. 60-69) bpm was associated with a multi-adjusted hazard ratio of 1.55 (95% confidence interval 1.06-2.27) for dementia. The association remained significant after excluding participants with prevalent and incident CVDs. Similarly, RHR≥80 bpm was associated with a multi-adjusted β-coefficient of -0.13 (-0.21 to -0.04) for MMSE score.

Discussion: Higher RHR is associated with increased risk for dementia and faster cognitive decline independent of CVDs in a general population of elderly people.

Keywords: cardiovascular disease; dementia; heart rate; risk factor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dementia* / epidemiology
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mental Status and Dementia Tests
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors