How To Measure Your Childs Heart Rate
Generally speaking, theres no reason to check your childs pulse unless you suspect that theyre not feeling well, says Amalia Guardiola, MD, a pediatrician and an associate professor with McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston . Some underlying causes of a fast heart rate include dehydration and an underlying infection, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
If you do want to measure your childs resting heart rate, the best place to find a pulse is on the wrists, the inside of the elbow, the side of the neck or the top of the foot, according to the American Heart Association . Once you choose a location, place your finger over the pulse and count the number of heart beats that you feel during the next 60 seconds.
Keep in mind, too, that a number of factors can affect the reading for example, being stressed or anxious can result in a higher pulse, according to the AHA. Your pediatrician should also measure your childs heartbeat at every checkup, says Dr. Guardiola.
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Can Resting Heart Rate Be Too High
Can resting heart rate be too high?
As mentioned, normal heart rate can range between 60 to 100 beats per minute. So, if your resting heart rate is consistently higher than 100, do you need to be worried?
The more beats your heart has to take on a regular basis, the more strain it places on your heart over time. A resting heart rate regularly above 100 beats per minute is called tachycardia, which can place you at an increased risk of heart disease, and even death if your heart rate climbs high enough, warns Dr. Chebrolu.
This means that its incredibly important to talk to your doctor if youre resting heart rate is consistently high. He or she can run the tests and bloodwork needed to assess your overall heart health.
Your doctor can also recommend lifestyle changes that may help lower your resting heart rate, including:
- Getting regular exercise
- Maintaining healthy choices and modifying your cardiovascular risk factors
- Avoiding certain prescription and over-the-counter medications that can affect your heart rate
- Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol use
In particular, starting an exercise program can help you decrease your resting heart rate up to one beat per minute for every week or so that you train with reductions in resting heart rate, over time, ranging from 10 to 12 beats per minute, adds Dr. Chebrolu.
What Can I Expect If I Have Tachycardia
Depending on which type of tachycardia you have, you may have harmless symptoms, very dangerous symptoms or something in between. Medicines and other treatments can help you control your symptoms. You may need to wear a Holter monitor or do electrophysiology testing to see how well your medicine is working.
How long tachycardia lasts
Tachycardia that puts you in danger doesnt go away on its own. Youll need to live a healthier lifestyle and take medicines to control it. You may also need to have a procedure, such as an ablation, to help you manage it.
Outlook for tachycardia
Although medications cant cure tachycardia, they can help you control it. Ablation may be a long-term solution to certain types of tachycardia. Ventricular fibrillation can be fatal without immediate treatment.
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What Is A Target Heart Rate
According to the AHA , your target heart rate during moderate-intensity activities is about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. Vigorous physical activity should result in about 70 to 85 percent of your maximum.
So for 35-year-olds, a goal target heart rate is between 93 and 157 bpm .
The table below shows the target heart rate range and average maximum heart rate for different ages, based on information from the AHA.
- being an older adult
- problems with the conduction system of the heart
Borderline or occasional bradycardia may not need treatment. But prolonged bradycardia, or bradycardia thats not treated, can become more serious.
Certain underlying conditions are typically the true decider of what a dangerous heart rate is. If youre already living with heart disease, heart failure, or a history of heart disease and notice a fluctuation in your heart rate, you should go to the doctor as soon as you can, as it could be a sign of a serious complication.
Where Is It And What Is A Normal Heart Rate
The best places to find your pulse are the:
- side of your neck
- top of the foot
To get the most accurate reading, put your finger over your pulse and count the number of beats in 60 seconds.
Your resting heart rate is the heart pumping the lowest amount of blood you need because youre not exercising. If youre sitting or lying and youre calm, relaxed and arent ill, your heart rate is normally between 60 and 100 .
But a heart rate lower than 60 doesnt necessarily signal a medical problem. It could be the result of taking a drug such as a beta blocker. A lower heart rate is also common for people who get a lot of physical activity or are very athletic. Active people often have a lower resting heart rate because their heart muscle is in better condition and doesnt need to work as hard to maintain a steady beat. A low or moderate amount of physical activity doesnt usually change the resting pulse much.
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
Contact your provider if your medicine isnt helping you as much anymore or if you start having new symptoms.
When should I go to the ER?
Get help right away if you feel your heart pounding, have chest pain or if youre fainting or getting dizzy. You should also get help immediately for someone who collapses or is unconscious from ventricular fibrillation. Theyll need CPR to survive until paramedics arrive.
Symptoms And Complications Of High Pulse Rate
Rapid heart rates reduce the ability of the heart to pump out blood efficiently to the vital organs like the brain. This deprives the organs of oxygen-rich blood, which can cause the symptoms like dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting spells, palpitations, chest pains, and shortness of breath. Some people, however, do not experience symptoms, especially when tachycardia is temporary or short-lived. In those with underlying medical conditions, tachycardia may be detected during a physical examination or after doing a test called electrocardiogram.
Having chronically rapid pulses may result in complications that depend on the severity of the existing condition and the duration of the tachycardia. These complications may include formation of blood clots leading to stroke or heart attack, heart failure, frequent fainting spells or worst of all, sudden death.
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How Are Heart Rhythm Disorders Treated
Generally, treatment for a heart rhythm disorder may include:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If youre relaxing after work and suddenly feel your heart racing, you might worry something is wrong. Or maybe youve noticed that a male friend always seems to have a lower resting heart rate than you.
Its normal for a woman or a person assigned female at birth to have a higher heart rate, and it seems hormones play a role. But if your heart rate is consistently above 100 beats per minute while youre resting, you should call your healthcare provider. Also, tell your provider if your heart rate is often below 60 beats per minute, especially if youre not extremely active in sports or exercise.
How Atrial Fibrillation Effects The Heart
AFiB is one of the most common heart conditions, affecting 4% of the adult population. Characterized by a rapid, irregular heartbeat, AFIB is largely due to abnormal electrical impulses that cause the atria of the heart to quiver when it should be beating steadily. Blood flow is reduced and is not completely pumped out of the two small upper chambers of the heart, the atria. This negatively impacts cardiac performance and also allows the blood to pool and potentially clot. At rest, a normal heart rate is approximately 60 100 beats per minute. In a person with AFIB, that heart rate can skyrocket to 180 bpm or even higher. Thorough testing by your health care provider can spot abnormalities in the hearts rhythm before any obvious symptoms are noticed.
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What Is Lee Health’s Approach
Lee Health has extensive expertise in diagnosing and treating tachycardias using the latest technique appropriate for each individual.
Our integrated team includes doctors trained in medical and surgical diagnosis and treatment for diseases of the heart including, cardiologists, electrophysiologists, and cardiac and cardiovascular surgeons.
Things You Can Do To Help With Supraventricular Tachycardia
If your episodes of SVT only last a few minutes and do not bother you, you may not need treatment.
You can make changes to your lifestyle to reduce your chances of having episodes, such as:
- cutting down on the amount of caffeine or alcohol you drink
- stopping or cutting back on smoking
- making sure you get enough rest
Your doctor may also be able to recommend some simple techniques to help stop episodes when they happen.
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A High Heart Rate May Not Be Related To Your Heart
These are common reasons why your heart rate may be high:
- Stress. When your body responds to something stressful, frightening or upsetting, you may get a jolt of adrenaline, which increases your heart rate.
- Overactive thyroid . Having too much thyroid hormone in your system makes your heart beat faster than it should, increasing your heart rate.
- Anemia. If you have anemia, you dont have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen around your body to your organs. Your heart may beat more rapidly to compensate for this, in an attempt to help whatever oxygen-rich blood you have to reach your organs more quickly.
- Medication side effects. A number of drugs may cause your heart rate to increase, including some medications that treat colds, asthma, anxiety, depression and high blood pressure.
- Addictive substances. Caffeine, cigarettes and high levels of alcohol may cause your heart rate to rise after you use those substances. Additionally, illegal drugs like cocaine may also have this effect on your heart rate.
- Strenuous physical activity. When you exert more than your body is prepared for, the heart rate increases to meet the higher demand.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About My Heart Rate
Even if theres an obvious reason why your heart rate is high, it can still be hard to know when you should see a provider. An elevated heart rate can be the first warning sign of many different things going on in the body, so you should never be shy about asking for help when something doesnt seem right.
It isnt normal for your heart rate to stay over 100 beats per minute. If this happens, be sure to see your provider. There are also other symptoms you should not ignore.
The following red flags are good reasons to see your provider as soon as possible:
A heart rate that feels faster than your normal
Palpitations that last for more than a few minutes
Shortness of breath
Chest pain, pressure, or tightness
Fainting, lightheadedness, or dizziness
New swelling in one or both of your legs
And if youre having trouble getting in touch with your provider, these are all good reasons to visit your nearest emergency room. Do not wait for a scheduled visit if your symptoms feel severe or get worse.
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Causes Of High Pulse Rate
There are many factors that can cause it. In healthy people, most reasons for having rapid pulses are temporary, although a few other factors may increase one’s pulse rate for longer periods.
- Emotional factors: Temporary causes include emotional factors like sudden fear, emotional stress or anxiety, excitement, and nervousness. These are normal responses of the body, and tachycardia may subside after the stimulus is gone.
- Exercise or physical exertion: Another temporary cause of rapid heart rates is exercise or physical exertion, which causes the heart to pump more blood to the muscles. These subside after the individual has sufficiently rested. The heart may also be induced to beat faster after eating a heavy meal, or taking stimulating substances like coffee, tea, alcohol, or tobacco. Certain medications can also temporarily affect the heart, causing an increase heart rate, such as salbutamol.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions affect the heart, leading to rapid pulse rate. These include heart diseases , overactive thyroid gland, lung diseases , fever, anemia, vitamin deficiency, and electrolyte imbalances. In these cases, rapid heart rates may be prolonged until the underlying condition is treated medically.
High Heart Rate Questions
I receive lots of questions from athletes every week. They seem to come in topical groups. For some unknown reason this spring Ive gotten a lot of questions from athletes who believe their heart rates are abnormally high during exercise and imply that they are concerned that they may have a cardiovascular problem. One guy even recently wondered why his heart didnt explode. I dont know if he was kidding but its the sort of thing many seem to be wondering this spring. So rather than continuing to reply to this same question repeatedly I thought Id simply answer it here and then refer people to it when they query me. I also asked Dr. John Post, an old friend of mine and the Medical Director for TrainingBible Coaching, to comment from a medical perspective. He and I separately wrote a general reply. They seem to overlap quite a bit. So, here we go
Or if high heart rate means its high relative to your training partners’ then this is essentially the same matter as the 220-minus-age formula. If this defines high then, in the absence of any other symptoms , you are probably good to go. You dont have a problem. You just are on the right end of the bell-shaped curve.
But if your heart rate is well above 10bpm over what you normally see at a given power, pace or perceived exertion then you could have a health problem. But first check to make sure your heart rate monitor is working correctly and there are no errant signals.
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How Is Tachycardia Treated
The treatment for tachycardia depends on the type, but could include:
- changes to your lifestyle:
Some people will need a defibrillator to help get the heart into the right rhythm. Some will need radioablation a surgical procedure that inactivates the tiny parts of the heart causing electrical signal problems.
Tracing The Hearts Electrical Pathway
The sinoatrial node initiates an electrical impulse that flows through the right and left atria , making them contract. When the electrical impulse reaches the atrioventricular node , it is delayed slightly. The impulse then travels down the bundle of His , which divides into the right bundle branch for the right ventricle and the left bundle branch for the left ventricle . The impulse then spreads through the ventricles, making them contract.
After passing through the atrioventricular node, the electrical current travels down the bundle of His, a group of fibers that divide into a left bundle branch for the left ventricle and a right bundle branch for the right ventricle. The electrical current then spreads in a regulated manner over the surface of the ventricles, from the bottom up, initiating contraction of the ventricles, which eject blood from the heart.
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Types Of Tachycardia Include:
- Sinus tachycardia often the bodys normal response to situations such as stress, anxiety or distress can be caused by conditions such as anemia, low blood pressure or thyroid disease.
- Atrial fibrillation irregular heartbeat associated with heart disease, overactive thyroid or alcoholism.
- Atrial flutter an arrhythmia similar to atrial fibrillation yet less serious.
- Supraventricular tachycardia or paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is the leading cause of SVT in children or young adults.
- Ventricular tachycardia a ventricular electrical abnormality where the ventricles poorly fill with blood.
- Ventricular fibrillation ventricles fail to pump blood at all during rapid rhythm.
Whats A Normal Resting Heart Rate
While age and activity level can affect your heart rate, as we mentioned above, there are a few normal parameters.
Your resting heart rate is when your heart pumps the minimal amount of blood that your body needs because youre at rest.
Resting heart rates can vary by individual. Additionally, factors like age, activity level, and certain medications can also impact your resting heart rate.
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Diagnosis Of Cardiac Arrhythmia
To diagnose a cardiac arrhythmia and rule out other conditions with similar manifestations, medical history taking and a comprehensive physical examination will be conducted by the cardiologist. In addition to blood tests, heart-monitoring tests specific to cardiac arrhythmia need to be performed. These may include: