What Makes a Healthy Heart?

What Makes a Healthy Heart?

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In honor of heart health month, we re-examined which factors are most indicative of a healthy heart with the help of our user data. While some results were expected, others were more surprising—and quite interesting. Read on for a look at what we found.

You eat your veggies and try to get enough sleep, but what else could you be doing to optimize your heart health? To study which factors are most associated with heart health, we combined results from a blood pressure and heart rate survey with our pulse wave velocity user data.

Wondering what pulse wave velocity is? This metric, also known as PWV, is a medically-accepted measurement that helps you assess the overall health of your cardiovascular system. Our Body Cardio scale can measure this— and delivers PWV readings on the scale and in the Health Mate app.

Body Cardio

Body Cardio brings a new heart health metric home, so that anyone can keep tabs on their cardiovascular health. With exp…
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So — here’s what we found. First up, we discovered a strong link between BMI and blood pressure, heart rate, and pulse wave velocity.

Healthy BMI, Healthy Heart

Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, and PWV According to BMI Level

While users at a healthy weight had an average systolic blood pressure of about 121, average heart rate of 67, and average pulse wave velocity of 6.9, obese users recorded a systolic blood pressure and heart rate that was 7% higher, and a pulse wave velocity 12% higher. Clearly, maintaining a healthy weight is associated with a healthier heart.

Higher Activity Level, Healthier Heart

Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, and PWV According to Activity Level

Activity was also found to be related to heart health. As shown in the graph above, those who logged 4,000 steps or fewer had an average systolic blood pressure of 127 versus 123 for those logging at least 12,000 steps a day. Additionally, we see that more sedentary users also logged an average heart rate 7% higher than our most active users, and a pulse wave velocity about 3% higher.

Happier = Healthier

Heart Rate and Blood Pressure According to Mood

Lastly, the mood which a user logged when having their blood pressure and heart rate taken appeared to have a significant impact on the results. For example, users who reported feeling “happy” logged an average systolic blood pressure and an average heart rate that was roughly 5% lower than those who reported feeling stressed. Those who reported they felt “angry” and “sad” also had higher blood pressure and a higher heart rate. Even those who reported feeling “neutral” showed slightly increased measures in both heart health indicators.

While this data only shows mood data for the exact time at which measurements were taken, this suggests that chronic stress and unhappiness could lead to chronically higher blood pressure and heart rate measurements, which have been proven to negatively impact your heart.

So our advice for a healthy heart is simple: it’s important to maintain a healthy weight, get moving, and do more of whatever makes you happy!

Study Methodology

This study was conducted by Withings based on anonymous data from a pool of almost 100,000 users of Withings Body Cardio scales and 3,126 respondents to a Withings blood pressure survey. Withings guarantees the confidentiality of personal data and protects the privacy of all its users. Therefore, all data used in this study is anonymized and aggregated. Data analysis by Eva Roitmann

Eva Roitmann

Eva is a Data Analyst at Nokia and anything to do with health and disease catches her attention. She believes that extracting information from data will lead to better health in many different ways. When she isn't crunching data you can find her mainly outside enjoying fresh air and sun likely on her bike.
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