What Makes A Heart Rate Soar
Typically, a normal resting heart rate falls between 60 and 100 beats a minute, according to the Mayo Clinic. An abnormally fast resting heart rate called tachycardia happens when the upper or lower chambers of the heart beat more than 100 times a minute, explains Shoshana Ungerleider, MD, an internist who practices hospital medicine at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.
“It is normal for your heart rate to rise during exercise or as a physiological response to stress, trauma or illness,” says Dr. Ungerleider. “This is called sinus tachycardia.” Not all types of tachycardia are benign, however. According to the Mayo Clinic, other types that come with health consequences include:
- Atrial fibrillation a fast heart rate caused bydisordered, irregular electrical impulses in the heart’s upper chambers, knownas the atria.
- Atrial flutter when the atria of the heart beat rapidlybut at a steady rate, resulting in weak atrial contractions.
- Supraventricular tachycardia an abnormally rapid heartbeat originatingsomewhere above the heart’s ventricles, which are the lower chambers.
- Ventricular tachycardia a fast heart rate originating withabnormal electrical signals in the ventricles.
- Ventricular fibrillation when fast, disordered electricalimpulses cause the ventricles to quiver inefficiently instead of pumping bloodthat the body needs.
When Is This Combo Not A Big Deal
Sometimes blood pressure and high heart rate occurs momentarily. For example, Dr. Taigen explains, when we stand up:
However, that phenomenon is short-lived. When the heart rate stays consistently high while blood pressure is low, there may be something problematic going on.
High Resting Heart Rate
Your heart rate might feel constant, but its really not. It changes depending upon what you are doing. Your heart rate will change when you stand up, sit down, lie down, or when you feel relaxed, or stressed. The heart rate can literally change within a second.
Your resting heart rate is a measure of health it is one of the vital signs your doctor will check at every appointment. The resting heart rate is how fast your heart beats when you are simply sitting down, doing nothing to increase it. Sometimes the resting heart rate can be very high or rather low due to heart rhythm problems or other issues.
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Why Is It Important To Get It Checked
Often an irregular pulse is harmless. However, it’s important to get it checked by a health professional, because sometimes it’s a sign of a heart condition.
The most common kind of heart rhythm condition is atrial fibrillation , which can put you at greater risk of having a stroke. Fortunately, if you have AF, there’s medication you can take to help reduce this stroke risk.
Your doctor can do a simple test called an ECG to further check your irregular pulse.
About Heart And Vascular Institute
The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute has long been a leader in cardiovascular care, with a rich history in clinical research and innovation. As one of the first heart transplant centers in the country and as the developer of one of the first heart-assist devices, UPMC has contributed to advancing the field of cardiovascular medicine.
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Two Caveats To Keep In Mind
If you notice a change in your resting heart rate but none of the scenarios above seem plausible, there are two other factors that may be playing a part: age and medication.
Resting Heart Rate Increases With AgeMost of the time your RHR can be modified. Unfortunately, as you get older, your RHR tends to increase. To reduce the impact that aging can have on your cardiovascular system, you can help maximize your results by exercising within your target HR zone to help lower your resting heart rate.
Medication Affects Resting Heart RateChanges in your resting heart rate can also result from over-the-counter or prescription medications. Medications to treat asthma, depression, obesity, and attention deficit disorder tend to increase your RHR. However, medications prescribed for hypertension and heart conditions typically decrease your resting heart rate.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.
How To Check Your Heart Rate
You can check your heart rate by counting the pulse. A pulse can be felt at various sites on the body like over the sides of the neck, the wrist, and the top of the foot. To check your pulse on the wrist with the help of your middle finger and index finger, you need to:
- Keep your middle finger and your index finger over the inner part of the wrist and keep pressing gently until you can feel your pulse. The pulse is felt in your radial artery.
- After you have located your pulse, look at the watch, and start counting the beats for 30 seconds. Doubling this count will give you your heart rate. You can even count the beats for 10 seconds and multiply the number by six to get your heart rate.
If you find the rhythm of your heartbeat slightly irregular, you will have to count the beats completely until 60 seconds. You will have to visit your doctor if you keep getting a fast and irregular heart rate consistently.
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Average Resting Heart Rate Chart For Men & Women
What is a good resting heart rate by age and gender? The graphic below depicts the average resting heart rate by age for male and female WHOOP members between 20 and 50 years old.
the average resting heart rate for men wearing WHOOP is 55.2 bpm, and for women its 58.8 bpm.
Across all ages, the average resting heart rate for women wearing WHOOP is 58.8 bpm, and for men its 55.2 bpm.
Given that our members tend to be athletes and/or people who are particularly interested in monitoring their health and well-being, its no surprise that the normal resting heart rate for men and women on WHOOP is below what the AMA considers average.
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
|18 and older
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.
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How To Take Your Pulse
Although you may be able to feel your blood pumping in a number of placesyour neck, the inside of your elbow, and even the top of your footyour wrist is probably the most convenient and reliable place to get a good pulse.
Press your index and middle fingers together on your wrist, below the fat pad of your thumb. Feel around lightly until you detect throbbing. If you press too hard you may suppress the pulse. You can probably get a pretty accurate reading by counting the number of beats in 15 seconds and multiplying that number by four.
The best time to get your resting heart rate is first thing in the morning, even before you get out of bed. To gauge your maximum heart rate, take your pulse immediately after exercising as vigorously as possible.
Effects Of High Heart Rate
The research team found out the factors that are likely to impact the results and found out that:
- a resting heart rate of about 80 beats per minute is linked to about 40% elevated number of risks of death
- a resting heart rate of about 90 beats per minute much doubled the risk, as compared with the ones with the lowest rate
- resting heart rates that is over 90 beats per minute usually triples the risk
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Keep Your Doctor Informed Of Your Resting Heart Rate
This article is not meant to diagnose or treat you. Its intended to help you understand one aspect of your health, your resting heart rate. This article is based on scientific research, but science is continually changing. Thus, this information is subject to change.
Everyone is different and has unique circumstances. Consult with your doctor about any changes in your health, diet, and exercise.
Read my full medical disclaimer here.
High Heart Rate After Surgery
All the surgeries have the potential for some given risks, even if theyre the routine procedures. One of the risks is normally the alteration of the blood pressure. People can have the high blood pressure after surgery for several reasons.
Whether or not you are developing the complication depends much on the type of surgery that youre having, the type of anesthesia as well as the medications that are administered, and whether or not you have had issues with the blood pressure before.
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When To Call Your Doctor
If youre on a beta blocker to decrease your heart rate or to control an abnormal rhythm , your doctor may ask you to monitor and log your heart rate. Keeping tabs on your heart rate can help your doctor determine whether to change the dosage or switch to a different medication.
If your pulse is very low or if you have frequent episodes of unexplained fast heart rates, especially if they cause you to feel weak or dizzy or faint, tell your doctor, who can decide if its an emergency. Your pulse is one tool to help get a picture of your health.
Why Is My Resting Heart Rate Decreasing
As mentioned above, a low resting heart rate is often a sign that youre in peak physical fitness. However, in some cases, a low RHR could cause you to feel dizzy or exhausted. If youre experiencing these symptoms and are wondering why is my resting heart rate going down, then you should speak to a doctor. Its also good to remember that medications like beta-blockers are designed to slow your pulse down as they block adrenaline. So always be mindful of what prescription drugs you are taking and how they could be affecting your RHR.
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Why Does My Resting Heart Rate Fluctuate
You now know that there are many factors that can cause resting heart rate fluctuations. Its important to think about all of these if you observe any resting heart rate changes, as its likely to be a short term change. Its relatively normal if your RHR fluctuates a lot and, for example, you are having a varied sleep pattern, experiencing stress, taking medication, changing your training schedule, or are affected by hot weather.
There is a wide range of normal when it comes to your RHR so yours fluctuate, it wont often be cause for concern. However, if your RHR is consistently over 100 beats per minute, then you could have tachycardia, which could be caused by a heart rhythm disorder. Alternatively, if youre not a trained athlete and your RHR is below 60 beats per minute and you are dizzy or short of breath, you could have bradycardia. In either of these cases, its important to speak to a doctor so they can look at why your RHR fluctuates.
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Influencers Of Heart Rate For The Long
- Hyperthyroidism – This disorder of the thyroid causes the heart to increase its rate as long as the condition is untreated. Medication, surgery and other treatments can treat hyperthyroidism and the heart rate will return to normal ranges.
- Congestive heart failure – This heart problem is one wherein the heart must work extra hard to pump blood. This eventually will lead to heart attack.
- Arrhythmias – These “irregular heartbeats” are inconsistencies in the speed of the heart’s activity. The condition is usually due to salt imbalance in the body, heart attack or other problems.
- Nerve damage – Often occurring in the peripheral nervous system branching into arms and legs, this condition affects nerves attached to the heart. Diabetes is sometimes a cause of this problem. The underlying condition must be treated.
- Anemia – Low red blood cell count due to lack of enough iron or excessive bleeding can increase the heart rate as the heart works to supply less healthy blood throughout the body. This can be treated through medication or procedures such as infusion.
Pulse Rate Analysis
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Legs Up The Wall To Reduce Resting Heart Rate
The legs up the wall pose is a therapeutic yoga pose that helps your body and mind relax. To do the Viparita Karani pose:
Try to stay in this pose for 5 minutes. It doesnt need to be perfect. Even having your legs above your heart works if youre relaxed.
Viparita Karani improves circulation as gravity helps blood flow from your legs back to your heart. Because your heart doesnt need to work as hard, your heart rate lowers.
Know Your Numbers: Heart Rate
The better you understand your heart rate, the more you can maximize your movement to give your heart a good workout.
What is your heart rate?
Your heart rate, or pulse, is the number of times your heart beats per minute. Your resting heart rate is the heart pumping the lowest amount of blood you need because you’re not exercising. If you are sitting or lying down and you’re calm, relaxed and aren’t ill your heart rate is normally between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
Other factors can affect your heart rate include:
- Air temperature When temperatures or humidity increases, the heart pumps more blood so you pulse or heart rate may increase.
- Body position Sometimes when going from a sitting to a standing position, your pulse may go up a little. After a few minutes, it should return to a normal rate.
- Medications that block adrenaline tend to slow your heart rate. Thyroid medication may raise it.
Why your heart rate matters
What’s considered normal?
Your target heart rate is the minimum heart rate in a given amount of time to reach the level of energy necessary to give your heart a good workout. To find your target heart rate to maximize your cardiovascular exercise, the first step is determining your maximum heart rate.
Your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. Your target heart rate for moderate exercise is about 50%85% of your maximum heart rate.
Averages by age as a general guide are:
What you can do
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How To Lower Heart Rate
If your heart rate is too high there are ways to lower it safely. Your heart rate could be high after exercising or because youre feeling stressed or anxious.
Here are some fast-acting methods that can help lower a fast heart rate:
- Breathing exercises: You can use your breathing to raise the aortic pressure in your heart, which will lower your heart rate. To do this, close your mouth and nose and raise the pressure in your chest. Breathe in for five to eight seconds, hold it for three to five seconds, and then exhale slowly. This can be repeated several times.
- Taking a bath: This can help relax you and bring your heart rate down.
- Light yoga: Calming yoga or meditation can help relax you and bring a high heart rate down.
- Moving to a cooler location: If your heart rate is raised because youre too hot, moving to a cooler location will help bring it down.
Here are some long-term solutions that can help you achieve a healthy heart rate:
- Exercising regularly: Starting and keeping an exercise program will help decrease resting heart rates over time.
- Eating healthy:Healthy diets that contain whole grains, leafy greens, fruits, and omega-3 fatty acids are great for supporting long term heart health and will help keep heart disease at bay.
- Quitting smoking:Non-smokers have a lowered risk of recurrent heart attacks and cardiovascular disease.
- Staying hydrated:Drinking enough water allows the heart to pump blood more easily throughout the body.