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Is Your Pulse Your Heart Rate

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Heart Rate Vs Pulse: Are They The Same Or Different

How to check your pulse and heart rate

Written byDevon AndrePublished onAugust 25, 2017

Discussing heart rate vs. pulse can be a confusing when trying to decipher the two. Essentially, they are two separate measurements and indicators of health but are closely related. The heart is a muscular pump that with each heart beat pumps blood throughout the body. A pulse is what you feel over an artery as the pressure increases within it following each heartbeat.

For adults, the general consensus is a normal pulse rate falls into the range of 60 to 100 beats per minute. Having a rate that exceeds this is known as tachycardia a heart rate that exceeds normal resting rate. Tachycardia may be caused by hypovolemia, rises in body temperature, stress, heart disease, exercise, or even when using certain medication.

Where Is It And What Is A Normal Heart Rate

The best places to find your pulse are the:

  • wrists
  • 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.

What Is Maximum Heart Rate

The maximum heart rate is the highest heart rate achieved during maximal exercise. One simple method to calculate your predicted maximum heart rate, uses this formula:

220 – your age = predicted maximum heart rate

Example: a 40-year-old’s predicted maximum heart rate is 180 beats/minute.

There are other formulas that take into account the variations in maximal heart rate with age and gender. If you are interested in learning more about these more accurate but slightly more complicated formulas please see these resources:

  • Gellish RL, Goslin BR, Olson RE, McDonald A, Russi GD, Moudgil VK. Longitudinal modeling of the relationship between age and maximal heart rate. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 May 39:822-9. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17468581
  • Gulati M, Shaw LJ, Thisted RA, Black HR, Bairey Merz CN, Arnsdorf MF. Heart rate response to exercise stress testing in asymptomatic women: the st. James women take heart project. Circulation. 2010 Jul 13 122:130-7. Epub 2010 Jun 28. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20585008

Your actual maximum heart rate is most accurately determined by a medically supervised maximal graded exercise test.

Please note that some medications and medical conditions may affect your heart rate. If you are taking medications or have a medical condition , always ask your doctor if your maximum heart rate/target heart rate will be affected. If so, your heart rate ranges for exercise should be prescribed by your doctor or an exercise specialist.

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Whats A Normal Heart Rate

A heart rate is a measurement of the number of times the heart muscle beats per minute. Healthy kids and adults will have hearts that beat at different speeds because of their age and body size. If the heart is beating too fast or too slow, this could mean you have an underlying health problem. Your resting heart rate will also allow you to gauge your current heart health.

In general, a lower resting heart rate means the heart is beating less per minute, which likely means its more efficient. Your resting heart rate tells you how fast your heart is beating when youre in a relaxed state, like sitting or laying down. If your resting heart rate is too high, this might mean you have lower physical fitness, or that youre at risk of developing a heart condition.

Knowing what your target heart rate should be for your age can help you recognize if and when your heart rate is abnormal, which may be an indication that its time to go to the doctor.

Normal heart rate by age
Age
18 and older 60-100 bpm

As we get older, the range of whats considered to be a healthy normal resting heart rate will change.

The average healthy adult will have a resting heart rate of 60 bpm or higher. Although in clinical practice, the resting heart rate between 60 and 100 bpm is considered to be normal, people with a resting heart rate higher than 80 bpm could have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

RELATED: Heart disease statistics

How Do I Take My Heart Rate

How Does Your Heart Rate?

There are a few places on your body where itâs easier to take your pulse:

  • The insides of your wrists
  • The insides of your elbows
  • The sides of your neck
  • The tops of your feet

Put the tips of your index and middle fingers on your skin. Press lightly until you feel the blood pulsing beneath your fingers. You may need to move your fingers around until you feel it.

Count the beats you feel for 10 seconds. Multiply this number by six to get your heart rate per minute

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Clinical Contributors To This Story

Sarah L. Timmapuri, M.D. contributes to topics such as Cardiac / Heart Health, Exercise / Fitness.

By Sarah Timmapuri, M.D.

If your heart is racing as youre sitting reading this article, its possible your body is trying to tell you something. A high resting heart rate, or a heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute, means your heart is working extra hard to pump blood through your body. And, that extra effort could result in a wide range of negative effects on your overall health, including feelings of dizziness and fatigue and most seriously blood clots, heart failure and, in rare cases, sudden death.

Normal resting heart rate is anywhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute, and its simple to check how fast yours is beating. While idle, hold your pointer and middle finger between your bone and tendon on the thumb side on your wrist until you feel your pulse, and count the number of beats for a minute that is your resting heart rate.

Certain aspects of someones resting heart rate are directly connected to uncontrollable factors, such as age and genetics, however there are certain actions that be taken to help decrease heart rate and improve overall wellbeing for those whose resting heart rate is above normal.

Here are six proven ways to lower your resting heart rate:

What Is Pulse Rate And Heart Rate

A Pulse rate is generally defined as the number of heartbeats per minute. The resting pulse rate for an average adult ranges between 60 and 80 beats per minute. The speed at which the human heart beats is termed as the heart rate.

To get an accurate reading, place your finger on an artery and count the pulses upto 60 seconds. Generally, a lower pulse or a heartbeat indicates that a person is physically fit and the heart muscles are in a good condition. This implies that the heart doesnt need to beat fast and hard to maintain body functions. Of course, this is not always the case, as there are medications which reduce the rate of heart beat to control various health heart diseases such as irregular heart beats, high blood pressure and angina .

For instance, the heartbeat of an average individual range from 60 to a 100 beats per minute at resting. An unhealthy individual, or an obese individual may have a heartbeat just under 100 at resting, and a well trained athlete will have a resting heartbeat close to 40.

Summary

  • A heart rate is the number of times your heart beats in the span of a minute.
  • A pulse rate is the number of times your arteries create a noticeable pulse due to increase in blood pressure as a result of your heart contracting.
  • Therefore,the pulse rate is essentially your heart rate.

Stay tuned with BYJUS to know more in detail about the differences between Heart Rate and Pulse Rate.

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Normal Resting Heart Rate For Kids

Childrens heart rates are normally faster than those of adults. According to Cleveland Clinic, the normal resting heart rate for a child aged six to 15 is between 70 to 100 beats per minute.

Many factors can affect your resting heart rate, including your level of physical activity. In fact, highly trained athletes can have a resting heart rate of around 40 beats per minute!

Other factors that can affect resting heart rate include:

  • Age. You may find that your resting heart rate decreases as you get older.
  • Temperature. Your heart rate may increase slightly when youre exposed to hot temperatures.
  • Medication side effects. For example, medications such as beta-blockers can lower your resting heart rate.
  • Emotions. If youre anxious or excited, your heart rate may increase.
  • Weight. People who are obese may have a higher resting heart rate. This is because the heart has to work harder to supply the body with blood.
  • Body positioning. Heart rate can increase temporarily when you move from a sitting to a standing position
  • Smoking. Smokers tend to have a higher resting heart rate. Quitting smoking can help bring it back down.

Heart Rate Vs Pulse Rate: The Difference

How to check your resting heart rate (aka your pulse)

The cardiovascular system is a complex network of specialized muscle and tissue. They all work together to ensure that oxygen-rich blood is being supplied to the far reaches of the human body. No organ is more important than the brain, which is why when our blood pressure becomes too low we often collapse or faint so our head will be on a lower plane, horizontally on the floor with the rest of the body. This is to circumvent the effects of gravity and help the heart pump blood to the brain more easily.

Our heart rate and pulse rate are key factors to ensuring blood pressure is high enough to sustain the perfusion of blood to all organs of the human body. While both are considered similar each represents a different mechanic of how the body is responding to differences in blood pressure.

Under normal condition, both the heart rate and pulse rate tend to be the same, but in conditions that affect either only the heart or only the blood vessels, these values may differ. The heart rate is the measured value obtained per minute when listening to the sounds the heart produces. The pulse rate is the measured value per minute when palpating the arterial vessels through the sense of touch and is a good indicator of various blood pressures throughout the body.

Your pulse rate is dependent on your heart rate. For if your heart were to stop beating you will not produce a pulse as there is no blood being pumped through the arterial vascular system.

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Why Does A Good Resting Heart Rate Matter

It’s important to know what heart rate is healthy and normal at every age in your life. Your heart rate, or pulse, can guide you to discover dangerous health conditions that need expert care, such as some heart problems. But your normal resting heart rate changes throughout your life as you age. Read this guide to learn more about your pulse through every step of your life.

Maximum And Target Heart Rate

Its important to know what your maximum heart rate should be to avoid causing harm to your heart or body. To calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. According to the American Heart Association , your target heart rate while doing moderately intense activities should be about 50% to 70% of your maximum heart rate. During vigorous exercise, it should be about 70% to 85% of your maximum heart rate.

If you exceed your maximum heart rate, you may experience sore joints, sore muscles, or musculoskeletal injuries. Heart rate monitors are great to wear while exercising because they tell you your heart rate in real-time.

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Learn What Is A Normal Heart Rate And How To Find Your Pulse With Your Fingers Or A Device

Measuring your heart rate is any easy way to gauge your health, as it provides a real-time snapshot of your heart muscle function. For most adults, a normal resting heart ratethe number of heartbeats per minute while at restranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. A normal heart rate can vary from person to person. However, an unusually high or low resting heart rate can be a sign of trouble.

Your Heart Rate Isnt Always Predictable

PPT

How this cardiac event affects the heart rate isnt always predictable.

Certain medications may slow your heart rate

For example, if youre on a medication that slows your heart rate, such as a beta-blocker for heart disease, your heart rate may remain slow during a heart attack. Or if you have a type of heart rhythm disturbance called bradycardia, in which your heart rate is perpetually slower than normal, a heart attack may do nothing to increase the rate.

There are certain types of heart attacks that can lead to an abnormal slowing of the heart rate because they affect the electrical tissue cells of the heart.

Tachycardia may speed your heart rate

On the other hand, if you have tachycardia, in which your heart always or frequently beats abnormally fast, then that pattern could continue during a heart attack. Or, certain types of heart attacks can cause the heart rate to increase.

Finally, if you have some other condition thats causing your heart to beat fast, such as sepsis or infection, then it could be causing the stress on your heart rather than being a result of the blockage to blood flow.

Many people live with tachycardia and have no other symptoms or complications. However, if you consistently have a rapid resting heart rate, you should absolutely have your cardiovascular health evaluated.

  • lightheadedness
  • a vague sense of impending doom

If you think you or a loved one may be having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

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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.

Is Bradycardia Dangerous

For most young people, highly trained athletes, and people who exercise regularly, a below-60 heart rate is normal and healthy. It is very possible to have a slow heart rate and experience no symptoms.

However, if you have symptoms but ignore them, it can sometimes cause more serious problems.

Consult your doctor if you are experiencing some of these symptoms and you have an associated slow heart rate:

  • Lack of energy.
  • Confusion/memory problems.
  • Heart palpitations or flutters.

If your heart rate drops into the 30s, you might not get enough oxygen to your brain, making fainting, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath possible. Blood can also pool in your heart chambers, causing congestive heart failure.

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What Is Your Pulse

When your heart beats it pushes blood around your body. This heart beat can be felt as your ‘pulse’ on your wrist or neck.

Your pulse is measured by counting the number of times your heart beats in one minute. For example, if your heart contracts 72 times in one minute, your pulse would be 72 beats per minute . This is also called your heart rate.

A normal pulse beats in a steady, regular rhythm. However, in some people this rhythm is uneven, or ‘jumps about’. This is known as an irregular pulse.

What Things Affect Heart Rate

How to Figure Your Resting Heart Rate

Other than exercise, things that can affect your heart rate include:

  • Weather. Your pulse may go up a bit in higher temperatures and humidity levels.
  • Standing up. It might spike for about 20 seconds after you first stand up from sitting.
  • Emotions. Stress and anxiety can raise your heart rate. It may also go up when youâre very happy or sad.
  • Body size. People who have severe obesity can have a slightly faster pulse.
  • Medications. Beta-blockers slow your heart rate. Too much thyroid medicine can speed it up.
  • Caffeine and nicotine. Coffee, tea, and soda raise your heart rate. So does tobacco.

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How To Measure Heart Rate

Measuring your heart rate is easy to do if you follow some simple steps. The easiest place to measure your heart rate is on your wrist, just below the base of the thumb. Place your index and middle fingers between the bone and tendon at the base of your thumb. Once you feel your pulse, count the number of beats you feel in 15 seconds. Once youve counted how many pulses, youll multiply that number by four. This gives you the total amount of times your heart beats in one minute. For example, if your heart beats 18 times in 15 seconds, your heart rate is 72 beats per minute.

Its important to measure your heart rate when youre in a relaxed state. If you take your pulse after any strenuous activity, you wont get an accurate reading. You should wait for one to two hours after exercising to take your resting heart rate, and an hour after consuming caffeine, according to Harvard Health.

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