What Is The Heart Rate
Heart rate or pulse rate is the number of times your heart beats in a minute. It is a simple measure to know how much your heart works during rest or activities.
Heart rate is one of the vital signs that are checked regularly whenever you visit your doctor, or when you get admitted to the hospital.
Your heart rate is lower when you are resting and higher when you are doing any kind of activity, or are feeling stressed or anxious.
When you exercise, your heart needs to work harder, which increases your heart rate. As soon as you rest, the heart rate starts decreasing gradually and returns to its normal level, usually within an hour.
Your Maximum Heart Rate
The rate at which your heart is beating when it is working its hardest to meet your body’s oxygen needs is your maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart rate plays a major role in setting your aerobic capacitythe amount of oxygen you are able to consume. Several large observational studies have indicated that a high aerobic capacity is associated with a lower risk of heart attack and death. And a small controlled trial demonstrated that men and women with mild cognitive impairment who raised their aerobic capacity also improved their performance on tests of memory and reasoning.
Atrial Or Supraventricular Tachycardia
Atrial or supraventricular tachycardia is an accelerated heart rhythm that starts in the upper chambers of the heart.
It is the most common heart rhythm problem in children and young people. Many people first experience it between the ages of 25 and 40 years.
An episode may last from a few minutes to several hours. It is not usually serious, but, in extreme cases, it can lead to unconsciousness and cardiac arrest.
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What Your Heart Rate Is Telling You
Your pulse, both at rest and during exercise, can reveal your risk for heart attack and your aerobic capacity.
Your grandmother may have referred to your heart as “your ticker,” but that nickname has proved to be a misnomer. A healthy heart doesn’t beat with the regularity of clockwork. It speeds up and slows down to accommodate your changing need for oxygen as your activities vary throughout the day. What is a “normal” heart rate varies from person to person. However, an unusually high resting heart rate or low maximum heart rate may signify an increased risk of heart attack and death.
One simple thing people can do is to check their resting heart rate. It’s a fairly easy to do and having the information can help down the road. It’s a good idea to take your pulse occasionally to get a sense of what’s normal for you and to identify unusual changes in rate or regularity that may warrant medical attention.
Is My Heart Rate Normal
According to the American Heart Association, a normal resting heart rate for most adults is somewhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute . For athletes and those who are generally more active, that heart rate may be as low as 40 bpm. When youre sick, that bpm is likely a bit higher.
Kids usually have a higher heart rate than adults. The National Institutes of Health outlined the following average resting heart rates for children:
- Newborn to 1 month: 70-190 bpm
- 1 to 11 months: 80-160 bpm
- 1 to 2 years: 80-130 bpm
- 3 to 4 years: 80-120 bpm
- 5 to 6 years: 75-115 bpm
- 7 to 9 years: 70-110 bpm
- 10 years and older: 60-100 bpm
To check your heart rate, start by finding your pulse on the inside of your wrist. Then use the tips of your index and middle finger to press lightly over the artery. Count your pulse for 30 seconds, then double that number to find your bpm. Other health monitoring tools, like wearable fitness trackers or a stethoscope, can also help here.
If your heart rate is consistently above or below these target ranges, and are show the following symptoms, you should see a doctor:
- Shortness of breath
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What To Expect At Your Office Visit
Your provider will examine you and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms.
You may be asked:
- Do you feel skipped or stopped beats?
- Does your heart rate feel slow or fast when you have the palpitations?
- Do you feel a racing, pounding, or fluttering?
- Is there a regular or irregular pattern to the unusual heartbeat sensations?
- Did the palpitations begin or end suddenly?
- When do the palpitations occur? In response to reminders of a traumatic event? When you are lying down and resting? When you change your body position? When you feel emotional?
- Do you have any other symptoms?
An electrocardiogram may be done.
If you go to an emergency room, you will be connected to a heart monitor. However, most people with palpitations do not need to go to an emergency room for treatment.
If your provider finds you have an abnormal heart rhythm, other tests may be done. This may include:
- Holter monitor for 24 hours, or another heart monitor for 2 weeks or longer
How To Lower Your Heart Rate
Staying physically active by doing moderate to vigorous exercise regularly is one of the best ways to achieve a lower heart rate that leads to a healthy and long life.
Changes in your lifestyle that may lower your heart rate include:
- Reducing the intake of coffee and caffeine-containing products
- Avoiding binge drinking
- Intake of a healthy diet to keep weight under check
- Doing deep breathing to manage stress and anxiety
If your heart rate becomes too high suddenly, and you feel shortness of breath or chest pain, you need to consult your doctor immediately to get medications prescribed for you. This could be a sign of an impending heart attack or other life-threatening heart problems.
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Consequences Of A Fast Heart Rate
Often a fast heart rate will have no significant effect on the heart, although there may be associated symptoms. In some cases however the symptoms may be enough as to cause concern and quality of life limiting symptoms. In a few cases, the heart rate may be continually elevated over a long period of time weeks-months often at heart rates above 120-130 beats per minutes and lead to a weakening of the heart muscle known as tachycardia mediated cardiomyopathy. Regardless, it is important to work up and identify any underlying causes of fast heat rate and give the appropriate treatment.
What Is A Healthy Resting Heart Rate For An Adult
A normal resting heart rate for adults lies somewhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute , and varies based on age group and gender. Women’s heart rates are about 2-7 BPM faster than men’s on average.
Generally speaking, you want to keep your resting heart rate as low as possible. One large, long-term study compared men with heart rates above 90 and those below 80. The men with higher average heart rates were associated with triple the risk of death.
People with lower heart rates tend to be more active and get more exercise than others. A young, highly-trained athlete’s healthy resting heart rate may be as low as 40 BPM.
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Should I Worry About My Fast Pulse
Q. My pulse is usually on the fast side. Does a high heart rate mean I have a problem with my heart?
A. In otherwise healthy people, a heart rate at rest should be less than100 beats per minute at rest. Heart rates that are consistently above 100, even when the person is sitting quietly, can sometimes be caused by an abnormal heart rhythm. A high heart rate can also mean the heart muscle is weakened by a virus or some other problem that forces it to beat more often to pump enough blood to the rest of the body.
Usually, though, a fast heartbeat is not due to heart disease, because a wide variety of noncardiac factors can speed the heart rate. These include fever, a low red blood cell count , an overactive thyroid, or overuse of caffeine or stimulants like some over-the-counter decongestants. The list goes on and includes anxiety and poor physical conditioning.
Many people today wear a wrist band that shows their heart rate. Or you can check your heart rate the old fashioned way by feeling the pulse in your wrist or neck. You count the number of beats over 15 seconds and multiply it times four. If your heart rate is consistently high, you should make an appointment with your doctor.
There’s A Short In Your Heart’s Electrical System
Your heart has its own electrical systema network of signals that help it beat correctlyand a slow heart rate might indicate an abnormality, says Taub. People who have an electrical problem may feel dizzy or lightheaded. Your doctor should be able to detect and pinpoint the malfunction with a simple EKG.
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What To Expect At The Doctors
Your doctor may use a variety of diagnostic tools to help diagnose your condition, including:
- Electrocardiogram. Also referred to as an ECG or EKG, this diagnostic tool uses small electrodes to record the electrical activity of your heart. Your doctor can use the information collected to determine if heart abnormalities are contributing to your condition.
- Imaging tests. Imaging can be used to assess if there are any structural abnormalities in your heart that may be contributing to your condition. Possible imaging tests can include echocardiogram, CT scan, and MRI scan.
- Laboratory tests. Your doctor may order blood tests to determine if your condition is caused by something such as an electrolyte imbalance or thyroid disease.
Once a diagnosis is made, your doctor will work with you to develop a plan to treat and manage your condition.
Depending on the findings from the diagnostic tests, your doctor may refer you to a cardiologist. A cardiologist specializes in treating and preventing diseases of the heart and circulatory system.
Atria Ventricles And The Electrical Circuitry Of The Heart
The human heart consists of four chambers : the atria, which are the two upper chambers, and the ventricles, which are the two lower chambers.
The heart has a natural pacemaker, called the sinoatrial node, in the right atrium. This produces electrical impulses. Each one triggers an individual heartbeat.
As the electrical impulses leave the sinoatrial node, they cross the atria, making the atrial muscles contract. This contraction pushes blood into the ventricles.
The electrical impulses continue to the atrioventricular node, which is a cluster of cells. The AV node slows down the electrical signals, then sends them on to the ventricles.
In doing so, it allows time for the ventricles to fill with blood. When the ventricular muscles receive the electrical signals, they contract, pumping blood either to the lungs or to the rest of the body.
A problem with the electrical signals can result in a faster-than-normal heartbeat. This is tachycardia.
Tachycardia usually stems from a disruption in the normal electrical impulses that control the heartâs pumping action, or the rate at which the heart pumps.
Depending on the type and cause of tachycardia, the following factors may trigger it:
- a reaction to certain medications
- congenital irregularities of the heart
- consuming excessive amounts of alcohol or caffeine
- using cocaine or other recreational drugs
Treatment aims to address the cause, but a doctor may also try to:
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How Do You Find Your Pulse
The easiest place to find your pulse is in your wrist.
- Turn your hand so that your palm is facing upwards.
- Now place the three middle fingers from your other hand over your wrist below the base of your thumb.
- Press lightly to feel the pulse under your fingers. If you can’t feel anything press slightly harder.
High ‘resting’ Heart Rate And Odds Of Early Death
But more research is needed before this can used as a marker, expert says
MONDAY, Nov. 23, 2015 — A rapid “resting” heartbeat might mean you have a higher risk of dying early, researchers suggest.
“Higher resting heart rate is an independent predictor of all-cause and cardiovascular death,” said lead researcher Dr. Dongfeng Zhang, of the department of epidemiology at the Medical College of Qingdao University in Shandong, China.
Your resting heart rate, or pulse, is the number of times your heart beats a minute. When you’re seated or lying down and relaxed, a normal heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats a minute, according to the American Heart Association.
Zhang’s team analyzed 46 studies involving more than 2 million patients in all. Compared to people with the lowest resting heart rate, those with a resting heart rate of more than 80 beats a minute had a 45 percent greater risk of death from any cause, while people with a resting heart rate of 60 to 80 beats a minute had a 21 percent greater risk, they found.
However, Zhang said the absolute risk is small — that is, the odds of any one person dying from a rapid resting heart rate are low, he said. Also, the study doesn’t prove that heart rate actually caused premature deaths it merely finds an association between the two.
You can check your heart rate by putting your finger over your pulse and counting the number of beats in 60 seconds, the heart association says.
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Premature Atrial Contraction And Premature Ventricular Contraction
Premature contractions are usually considered minor arrhythmias. The person may feel a fluttering or pounding in the chest caused by an early or extra beat. PACs and PVCs are very common, and are what happens when it feels like your heart “skips” a beat. Actually, the heart doesn’t skip a beat an extra beat comes sooner than normal. Occasional premature beats are common and considered normal, but in some cases they can be a sign of an underlying medical problem or heart condition.
What Is An Average Resting Heart Rate By Age
When you are resting – whether sitting or lying down – you can check your resting heart rate. Provided that you have not smoked, consumed coffee, or exercised vigorously an hour before. Activities such as smoking, having coffee, loud noises, and vigorous physical activity make your heart beat faster for a while, and so you might not get your exact resting heart rate. And hence this may interfere with the correct heart rate.
Average resting heart rate by age:
Children : 70-100 beats per minute
Adults : 60-100 beats per minute
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What Is Considered A Dangerously High Heart Rate
A normal heart rate in a healthy adult range from 60 to 80 beats per minute at rest, Infants and children has higher heart rates than adults in the normal state. The heart rate can rise during exercise, running, high fever, flu, excitement, consumption of nicotine or caffeine, surgical operations, and treatment procedures. When heart rate in adults exceeds 100 beats per minute at rest, then the condition is called tachycardia which has a pathological reason behind. It becomes extremely dangerous for the patient as it may cause heart failure, cardiac arrest, and even death.
What Are Common Tests/treatments For A Fast Heart Rate
Common tests and treatments for a fast heart rate include blood pressure measurements, EKGs, and ultrasounds of the heart. A doctor may check to see if your elevated heart rate occurs only with a change in position . If so, there could be an imbalance of heart rate and blood pressure control in the body.
Treatment for a fast heart rate will vary greatly based on its cause.
If you are concerned about an elevated heart rate or have additional questions on the topic, I encourage you to schedule an appointment today.
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Increase In Resting Heart Rate Is A Signal Worth Watching
- By Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
When you sit quietly, your heart slips into the slower, steady pace known as your resting heart rate. An increase in your resting heart rate over time may be a signal of heart trouble ahead.
Your heart rate changes from minute to minute. It depends on whether you are standing up or lying down, moving around or sitting still, stressed or relaxed. Your resting heart rate, though, tends to be stable from day to day. The usual range for resting heart rate is anywhere between 60 and 90 beats per minute. Above 90 is considered high.
Many factors influence your resting heart rate. Genes play a role. Aging tends to speed it up. Regular exercise tends to slow your heart rate down. Stress, medications, and medical conditions also influence your resting heart rate.
Results of observational research studies support a link between health and heart rate. Researchers from Norway previously reported the results of a large study looking at changes in resting heart rate over 10 years. They recruited more than 29,000 people without any history or heart disease, high blood pressure, or any other type of cardiovascular disorder, and measured their resting heart rates when they started the study and again 10 years later. This study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
How to lower your resting heart rate
What Is An Arrhythmia
An is an abnormal heartbeat. Most arrythmias are caused by an electrical “short circuit” in the heart.
The heart normally beats in a consistent pattern, but an arrhythmia can make it beat too slowly, too quickly, or irregularly. This erratic pumping can lead to a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, dizziness, and chest pain.
Many arrhythmias don’t need medical care, but some can pose a health problem and need to be evaluated and treated by a doctor.
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