Optimum Health Diagnostics- Heart Rate Variability

-Juliana Mazzeo, MS, CDN, Director
Nutrition Wellness Center of Nassau County

How Heart Rhythm Patterns Reflect Fitness, Health, Aging and Illness

It is believed that Heart Rate Variability (HRV) will become as common as pulse, blood pressure or temperature in patient charts in the near future. In the last ten years more than 2000 published articles have been written about HRV. HRV has been used as a screening tool in many disease processes. Various medical disciplines are looking at HRV. In diabetes and heart disease it has been proven to be predictive of the likelihood of future events. In 1996, a special task force was formed between the US and European Physiological associations to outline current finds on HRV and set specific standards on using HRV in medical science and future practice. Since then a steady stream of new information and value continues to come out of HRV research.  

In our practice we use the Heart Rate Variability Analysis to assess the function of the Autonomic Nervous System which affects the functions of all the organs in the body.

The autonomic nervous system controls over 90% of the body's actions, interfacing with all other systems of the body, and its assessment mirrors the body's regulatory efforts. The behavior of its sympathetic (SNS) and parasympathetic (PSNS) branches literally reflects how well we respond, recover, and adapt on a daily basis or, in essence, how well we move through life.

We are much like an automobile driving through this obstacle course of life.  How well do we use our accelerator and gas (SNS Response), how good are our breaks (PSNS Recovery), how well do we maneuver around traffic (Adaptability) and what is the wear and tear rate in doing so (Resilience)? With the examination of one's heart rhythm pattern a clearly visual HRV wave portrait or fingerprint of an individual's regulation process can be ascertained.

People are either healthy or sick to varying degrees. Health and illness exist on a continuum and HRV Analysis is a proven, acceptable and reliable means of measuring where one falls on that continuum. In effect, one's overall level of functioning, degree of adaptability, level of resilience and the amount of progress they are making with therapy can be quantified through this Technology of Heart Rate Variability Analysis.

Benefits of HRV Testing

  • Evaluate the current activity of both branches of the autonomic nervous system [hyper-hypo function/excess-insufficient
  • Assess overall regulatory efforts, i.e. how hard are you working to maintain or deal with your current state of health, what is your stress load
  • Document the impact of illness, dysfunction and physical and emotional stress
  • Track the effects of medications, nutritional supplements and other therapies
  • Measure and monitor performance and fitness
  • Customize and optimize therapeutic protocols
  • Follow the speed and direction of movement along the health continuum [rate of aging]
  • Probe for early detection and intervention