A Window into Health and Wellbeing - HRV
In the realm of health and well-being, a small but mighty metric known as heart rate variability (HRV) has gained increasing attention. Once overshadowed by traditional heart rate measurements, HRV has emerged as a powerful tool for understanding the intricate workings of our cardiovascular system and unlocking valuable insights into overall health.
Did you know having a lower heart rate variability (HRV) has been associated with diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease (CVD)?
HRV is a measurement of the time intervals between adjacent heartbeats. These variations are influenced by the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which regulates involuntary bodily functions, such as heart rate, breathing, and digestion. The variability in your heart rate reflects vagal tone and our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight). Low HRV leads to sympathetic (fight or flight response) and vagal tone imbalance. The vagus nerve plays an important role in the regulation of our metabolic homeostasis and messages sent by the vagus nerve can control immune function and pro-inflammatory responses via the inflammatory reflex. HRV serves as a window into the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the ANS. High HRV indicates a flexible and adaptive system, while low HRV suggests reduced adaptability and potential health issues.
Recent studies have reported using HRV in the evaluation of conditions associated with autonomic dysregulation which includes burnout and depression, autoimmune conditions (multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis), chronic PTSD, working memory performance, cognition, dementia, insulin resistance and metabolic syndromes, type 1 diabetes, cancer prognosis, and cardiovascular disease risk factors.
HRV can be a valuable marker of stress and emotional well-being. When we experience stress, our ANS responds by decreasing HRV. Monitoring HRV patterns can help individuals identify stress triggers and implement appropriate stress management techniques.
Research suggests that HRV holds predictive power for a variety of health conditions. Reduced HRV has been associated with cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders, depression, and even mortality. Long-term HRV analysis may aid in identifying individuals at higher risk and enable preventive measures.
Monitoring your heart rate variability is one of the many ways we assess your health at Sprouting Health. Give us a call if you would like to get yours assessed today.
 Pavlov, V. A., & Tracey, K. J. (2012). The vagus nerve and the inflammatory reflex—linking immunity and metabolism. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 8(12), 743.
 Kent, C. (2017). Heart rate variability to assess the changes in autonomic nervous system function associated with vertebral subluxation. Res Rev Neurosci, 1, 14-21.
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