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.
Heart Palpitations And Anxiety
Heart palpitations sometimes can be caused by extreme anxiety, rather than a heart condition. That might lead to a patient needing treatment for a possible anxiety disorder from a psychiatrist.
But we still have to make sure patients are checked out by a cardiologist for any possible heart problems first. We do have some patients who have been diagnosed before with anxiety and know thats whats happening. For the majority of patients, however, we dont want to label their condition as an anxiety attack before knowing for sure that there isnt a heart problem we need to address.
How To Get Your Heart Rate Up
Its essential that some of your exercise make your heart beat faster than it does when youre resting.
Exercise is an important part of disease prevention and that includes cancer prevention, too. But not all exercise is created equal. Its essential that some of your exercise make your heart beat faster than it does when youre resting.
Getting your heart to beat faster trains your body to move oxygen and blood to your muscles more efficiently, helps you burn more calories and lowers your cholesterol. All of this can help you stay healthy and lower your cancer risk.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week can help lower your cancer risk. Its the vigorous exercises that can help you get your heart rate up.
How to measure your heart rate
So, how do you determine your heart rate? One of the easiest ways to measure your heart rate is with a monitor, says Whittney Thoman, exercise physiologist at MD Andersons Cancer Prevention Center. This is typically a watch or a strap that goes around your arm or chest that syncs with a watch or another device. Many wearable fitness trackers now include heart rate monitors.
Understanding your heart rate
Now that you know how to measure your heart rate, you can determine:
Check your pulse or your heart rate monitor while youre resting and then again while youre exercising to compare your resting heart rate to your active heart rate.
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Heart Conditions That Can Cause A High Heart Rate
Some people who are born with congenital heart conditions may experience an elevated heartbeat. Other people who develop heart disease over time may notice that their heart rate feels high. When something gets in the way of the heart working properly, it may have to beat more quickly to pump blood more efficiently.
Heart conditions which may cause an elevated heart rate include:
When To Go To The Emergency Department For Heart Palpitations
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 or seek care at an emergency room.
Most people barely notice their hearts beating. And thats natural. But any noticeable change in the heartbeat should be concerning. Heart palpitations can be a sign of a serious condition, but some heart palpitations are totally normal.
I describe the feeling of heart palpitations as the heart-pounding sensation you get after running up a flight of stairs. But for people with heart palpitations, that feeling could just show up while theyre sitting on the couch.
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Types Of Fast Heart Rate
Fast heart rates can occur in different parts of your heart. Doctors identify different types of fast heart rate, related to the location in which they occur. These include:
- , often referred to as afib: a rapid, caused by irregular electrical impulses in the atria, which are the upper chambers of your heart. Afib is the most common type of tachycardia.
- Atrial flutter: A rapid, regular heartbeat, sometimes experienced by people who also suffer from atrial fibrillation
- Sinus tachycardia: This occurs when your body responds to stimuli such as exercise or emotional distress with a normal increase in heart rate.
- Supraventricular tachycardia : A fast heartbeat that starts above the lower chambers of the heart
- Ventricular tachycardia : A rapid rate caused by abnormal electrical signals in the lower chambers of the heart, called ventricles. Episodes of VT that last longer than a few seconds can be life-threatening.
- Ventricular fibrillation: A fast rate that occurs when rapid, irregular electrical impulses cause the lower chambers of your heart to quiver instead of pumping blood to your body. This type can be deadly and may require your heart to be restored to normal rhythm via electric shock to the heart.
Potential severe complications of fast heart rate depend on which type of tachycardia you have, how fast your heart is beating , how long your rapid heart rate lasts, and whether you have other . Some of the more serious consequences are:
Can I Improve My Heart Rate Variability
There are a few different ways that you can improve your heart rate variability. Some involve improving your physical condition. Others include taking care of your mental health. Here are a few general things you can do:
- Take care of your body. Regular exercise and a healthy diet improve your overall health especially the condition of your heart and this can help improve your variability.
- Take care of your mind. Your mental health is a vital part of your heart rate variability. Reducing and managing your stress level can improve your heart rate variability. If you have mental health concerns like anxiety or depression, managing these can make a difference.
One method to help improve heart rate variability is called biofeedback training. By controlling your breathing through biofeedback training, you can improve your heart rate variability. Theres also evidence to show that biofeedback training can help improve your levels of stress and anxiety.
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What Your Rhr Means
A normal RHR falls between 60 and 100 beats per minute. An RHR under 60 can indicate that youre more physically fit and may be associated with better heart function. An RHR that is above 100 beats per minute can reflect exposure to stress, excessive caffeine consumption or an illness.
If you have an RHR above 100 or below 50 that cant be explained by obvious factors, such as participation in a regular exercise program, you should see a doctor, Dr. Keteyian says.
An RHR over 100 could be a sign of an infection, heart arrhythmia or a worsening heart problem. Studies link an elevated RHR, especially in men, with a greater risk of premature death.
A low RHR, around 50 beats per minute or less, can also be a red flag. This is especially true if you are experiencing symptoms such as lightheadedness. It could be a sign of problems with the electrical pathways in the heart, Dr. Keteyian says.
How To Measure Your Rhr
Its important to take your heart rate while you are at rest. Dont measure it within one hour of exercise or a stressful event. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, its best to measure your RHR first thing in the morning, even before you get out of bed.
While there are a variety of tools and apps to measure your RHR, all you really need is a timer. Heres how:
- With your palm facing up, place your index and middle finger on the thumb side of your wrist, along the line where a watch band would be worn. You should feel a pulse. You can also find a pulse along the side of your neck about 1-2 inches below your ear.
- Set your timer for 30 seconds, then count the number of beats you feel during that window.
- Double the number of beats to get the number of beats per minute, which is your RHR.
For best results make sure you really are at rest before you begin. Then, it’s a good idea to repeat the process once or twice to make sure its consistent.
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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.
How Do I Get My Heart Rate In The Target Zone
When you work out, are you doing too much or not enough? Theres a simple way to know: Your target heart rate helps you hit the bullseye so you can get max benefit from every step, swing and squat. Even if youre not a gym rat or elite athlete, knowing your heart rate can help you track your health and fitness level.
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What The Experts Do Monitor Heart Rate For Motivation
For Johns Hopkins cardiologist Michael Blaha, M.D., M.P.H., most workoutstake place on an elliptical trainer in his home. His machine has electrodeson which he can place his hands to automatically see his heart rate. Itgives me a sense of how hard Im working, he says.
Blaha also uses his targeted heart rate to guide the course that heprogrammed into the machine, so that he works up to where he wants to be interms of exertion. Knowing your target heart rate and trying to achieve itcan be very motivating, he says.
Can Tachycardia Go Away
If you have sinus tachycardia, your symptoms will go away once the fear, anxiety or other emotion that caused it ends. For most other types of tachycardia, youll need medication or even a procedure to keep your symptoms from coming back.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Tachycardia symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on which type of tachycardia you have. For peace of mind, talk to your healthcare provider if youre having symptoms. They can tell you if you have a reason to be concerned. Keep taking the medicines your provider prescribed for you, especially heart medicines. Dont stop taking them without your healthcare providers approval. And be sure to keep going to all of your follow-up appointments.
- American College of Cardiology. Supraventricular Tachycardia: What Increases Your Risk? Accessed 10/3/2022.
- American Heart Association. Multiple pages reviewed. Accessed 10/3/2022.
- Heart Rhythm Society. Early Warning Signs. Accessed 10/3/2022.
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. What is an Arrhythmia? Accessed 10/3/2022.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.Policy
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.Policy
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Cyanotic And Acyanotic Congenital Heart Disease
Many doctors classify congenital heart disease as either cyanotic congenital heart disease or acyanotic congenital heart disease. In both types, the heart isnt pumping blood as efficiently as it should. The main difference is that cyanotic congenital heart disease causes low levels of oxygen in the blood, and acyanotic congenital heart disease doesnt. Babies with reduced oxygen levels may experience breathlessness and a bluish tint to their skin. Babies who have enough oxygen in their blood dont display these symptoms, but they may still develop complications later in life, such as high blood pressure.
What Is Target Heart Rate
You get the most benefits when you exercise in your ”target heart rate zone.” Usually, this is when your heart rate is 60% to 80% of your maximum. In some cases, your doctor may decrease your target heart rate zone to around 50%.
Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. They can help you find a routine and target heart rate zone that match your needs, goals, and overall health.
When you start an exercise program, you may need to slowly build up to your target heart rate zone, especially if you havenât exercised regularly before. If the exercise feels too hard, slow down. Youâll lower your risk of injury and enjoy the exercise more if you don’t try to overdo it.
When you exercise, take a break and check your pulse regularly to find out whether youâre in your target zone. If your pulse is below your target zone, step up the intensity of your workout.
American Heart Association: âBlood Pressure vs. Heart Rate ,â âKnow Your Target Heart Rates for Exercise, Losing Weight and Health,â âAll About Heart Rate .â
Harvard Health Publishing: âWant to check your heart rate? Hereâs how,â âIncrease in resting heart rate is a signal worth watching.â
Journal of the American College of Cardiology: âCardiac function in smokers and nonsmokers: The CARDIA study. The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study.â
Hackensack Meridian Health: â6 Proven Ways to Lower Your Resting Heart Rate.â
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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.
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
About the Author
Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
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Can Dehydration Cause Rapid Heart Rate
Dehydration can cause heart palpitations. That’s because your blood contains water, so when you become dehydrated, your blood can become thicker. The thicker your blood is, the harder your heart has to work to move it through your veins. That can increase your pulse rate and potentially lead to palpitations.
Reasons Your Heart Rate Is High
Youve probably noticed that your heart rate rises when you exercise and that it drops when youre lying in bed. But does your heart rate ever feel elevated for no apparent reason?
Having an increased heart rate isnt a health condition in and of itself rather, its a symptom caused by any number of circumstances. It may be a reaction to something thats happening in your life, or it may be caused by a health condition.
When you feel your heart pounding in your chest unexpectedly, dont jump to conclusions that theres something wrong with your heart, but if the problem continues without an explainable and simple cause, see a doctor to discuss your concerns, says interventional cardiologist, Ali Moosvi, M.D.
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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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