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What Is The Difference Between Heart Rate And Blood Pressure

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How To Measure Your Heart Rate

Blood Pressure and Heart Rate: What’s the Difference and Why Should You Care

The best time to measure your pulse is in the morning, before you get out of bed and before youve had your morning coffee or tea.

You can check your heart rate at your wrist. Lightly place your second and third fingers of one hand on the inside of your other wrist, below the base of your thumb. You should feel your pulse under your fingertips. Count the number of beats in one minute. Repeat to make sure you get a consistent reading.

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Deep Breathing And Stress Reduction

Research shows that acute emotional stress can have significant impact on heart rate therefore, managing stress is a beneficial part of treatment. Deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, yoga, prayer, and relaxation therapy can all help reduce your heart rate. Inhale for five seconds, hold your breath for five seconds, and exhale for five seconds to lower heart rate with deep breathing.

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.

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Should I Be Concerned About Having High Blood Pressure And A Low Pulse

If youre taking blood pressure medication and have slightly high blood pressure and a low pulse, this generally isnt anything to be concerned about.

But if youre not taking any medication, its best to work with a doctor to figure out whats going on. This is especially true if you have symptoms of a low pulse, such as dizziness or shortness of breath.

The typical range of 60 to 100 beats per minute is both the average pulse measurement as well as the rate at which most peoples heart needs to beat to pump enough blood through their body.

Some people may simply have a lower pulse. Examples include athletes or those in very good shape. Theyve conditioned their heart muscle to be stronger. As a result, their heart pumps more effectively, meaning it doesnt need to beat as often. Learn more about why athletes have lower pulses.

Exercising can also temporarily raise your blood pressure. So, if you exercise regularly, you may have a naturally low pulse and higher blood pressure right after you work out.

How To Check Your Heart Rate

Difference Between Heart Rate and Pulse Rate are explained ...

According to certified personal trainer Marianna Johnson, MSW, a good time to check your heart rate is right after you wake up, while youre still in bed. Johnson, owner of Mind Body Health & Fitness in Falls Church, Virginia, says a midday reading is also fine if taken after a few minutes of rest.

To take your heart rate, place your index and middle finger on your wrist or the side of your neck to locate your pulse. Count the number of beats in a minute.

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How Are Heart Rate And Pulse Rate Related

The source of a pulse is your heart. It can be understood as having a ripple effect throughout your vascular system much like throwing a stone into a pond. But the human body is vastly more complex as under normal operating conditions it has to maintain a certain level of homeostasis- a stable equilibrium between interdependent elements.

Health care providers have learned to use heart rate and pulse rate as two separate characteristics. While they are intrinsically bound they can differ in certain ways they may not fall in line with the current health status of the other.

Heart rates vary by age, with ranges for newborns and older adults differing vastly. Yet these are all still considered normal heart rate values. A normal newborn heart rate falls between 70-190 beats per min, while an adults heart rate falls between 60-100 beats per minute. This reference for adults can be more variable as seen in an athletic individual whos normal resting heart rate has reached a level that is below normal owing to their greater level of fitness.

How To Check Your Pulse

As the heart forces blood through the arteries, you feel the beats by firmly pressing on the arteries, which are located close to the surface of the skin at certain points of the body. The pulse can be found on the side of the neck, on the inside of the elbow, or at the wrist. For most people, it is easiest to take the pulse at the wrist. If you use the lower neck, be sure not to press too hard, and never press on the pulses on both sides of the lower neck at the same time to prevent blocking blood flow to the brain. When taking your pulse:

  • Using the first and second fingertips, press firmly but gently on the arteries until you feel a pulse.

  • Begin counting the pulse when the clock’s second hand is on the 12.

  • Count your pulse for 60 seconds .

  • When counting, do not watch the clock continuously, but concentrate on the beats of the pulse.

  • If unsure about your results, ask another person to count for you.

If your doctor has ordered you to check your own pulse and you are having difficulty finding it, consult your doctor or nurse for additional instruction.

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Eat More Foods High In Magnesium

A small study in the International Journal of Hypertension found magnesium supplementation can reduce blood pressure in small amountsNguyen H, Odelola OA, Rangaswami J, Amanullah A. A Review of Nutritional Factors in Hypertension Management. International Journal of Hypertension. 2013 698940. . Talk to your doctor before taking magnesium supplements, especially if you have kidney disease. You can also safely incorporate high-magnesium foods into your diet. Dr. Desai recommends foods like leafy green vegetables and unsalted almonds.

Exercise And Heart Rate

Blood Pressure vs Heart Rate

Like any other muscle, your heart needs exercise to keep it fit and healthy. Regular exercise can help reduce your risk of heart disease and other health conditions, such as diabetes.

To keep your heart healthy, you should aim to do 150 minutes of low to moderate intensity exercise a week. If you have a heart condition, talk to your doctor about what exercise and target heart rates are safe for you.

One way to measure the intensity of your exercise is by using your heart rate. To exercise at a low to moderate intensity your heart rate should be at 50 to 70% of your approximate maximum heart rate.

The easiest way to get an approximate maximum heart rate is to calculate 220 your age. You then need to calculate 50 to 70% of your MHR.

For example, if you’re 40-years-old:

  • your approximate maximum heart rate is: 220 40 = 180 beats per minute
  • 50% of your MHR is 180 X 0.5 = 90 bpm
  • 70% of your MHF is 180 X 0.7 = 126 bpm.

Alternatively, you can use our heart rate chart below to get a rough idea.

Remember if you’re on medications to slow your heart rate down, you may not be able to meet these upper heart rates and the aim should be to exercise at a rate that makes you lightly puff.

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Similarities Between Heart Rate And Blood Pressure

  • Heart rate and blood pressure are two parameters of the cardiovascular system of the body.
  • Both heart rate and blood pressure are important in the transport of blood throughout the body.
  • Depending on the needs, both heart rate and blood pressure are altered.
  • Both parameters are measured at the same time.

Heart Rate And Exercise

In discussions about high blood pressure, you will often see heart rate mentioned in relation to exercise. Your target heart rate is based on age and can help you monitor the intensity of your exercise.

  • If you measure your heart rate before, during and after physical activity, youll notice it will increase over the course of the exercise.
  • The greater the intensity of the exercise, the more your heart rate will increase.
  • When you stop exercising, your heart rate does not immediately return to your normal heart rate.
  • The more fit you are, the sooner your heart rate will return to normal.

Learn more:

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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.

Heart Rate Vs Pulse Rate Overview


When our heart beats the blood changes the blood pressure throughout the body and hence it increases the pulse rate in the major arteries. Under normal conditions, both terms are the same but under exceptional circumstances, they may change. Heat beat may be normal but pulse rate may change due to obstructions in the path of blood. Pulse rate is the rate of dilation and contraction of the arteries while heart rate is the rate of dilation and contraction of the heart.

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Measurement Of Blood Pressure And Pulse

The difference in the measurements lies in what a person measures: pressure against arteries versus actual heartbeats counted. To measure the blood pressure, a person uses a monitor known as a sphygmomanometer and a stethoscope. The cuff wraps snugly around the upper arm with the rubber tubing directly over the bend of the elbow where the main arteries are. Once secured, inflate the cuff until the needle reaches the 180 to 200 range. After placing the stethoscope head over the arteries, gradually release pressure while watching the dial and begin to listen carefully. Listening for the rhythm of the first heart’s beat and the last, the number noted at the sound of the first heartbeat represents the systolic the number noted at the sound of the last beat in a rhythm represents the diastolic numbers of the blood pressure reading. Measuring the pulse involves gentle pressure using the artery in the wrist by placing the first two fingers on the thumb joint and following down to the inner wrist to feel the heartbeat. Counting beats for 30 seconds and multiplying by two gives the beats per minute. The most common sites for measuring the pulse aside from the wrist are found in the groin, back of the knees, neck, temple and the top of the foot.

Difference Between Heart Rate And Pulse Rate In Tabular Form

Heart Rate

It is the rate at which the heart beats or contracts. The temporary increases in arterial pressure can be felt by the body.
Any contraction throughout the body is part of heart rate. It can be used to measure the heart rate for a normal, healthy heart.
The maximum heart rate during exercise is subtracted individuals age from 220 bpm The maximum pulse rate during exercise is Subtract an individuals age from 220 bpm.
Exercise Target Zone: 85% of 220 beats age Exercise Target Zone: Half to 85% of 220 beats age
Every heartbeat produces an arterial blood flow pulse that can be felt on the skin over the artery. Healthy adults who are reasonably fit and not overweight will have resting heart rates between 61 and 100 beats per minute their pulse will reflect this.

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A Low Pulse Or Blood Pressure Always Indicates A Problem

False: Whats healthy for one person may indicate danger for another. For example, a fit person may have a resting heart rate in their 50s or, in some cases, even their 40s. It can actually be a sign of being in really good shape, Dr. Laffin says.

Low blood pressure can be a bit trickier, especially in older patients and those with heart disease. If youre in danger from low blood pressure, your body will tell you. Its really about how you feel, Dr. Laffin says. Are you feeling weak? The numbers on their own dont tell the story its the numbers paired with the symptoms you may have.

What Impacts Blood Pressure

Difference Between Pulse Rate and Blood Pressure

Although low blood pressure can lead to short-term issues like nausea and dizziness, high blood pressure is a more common and dangerous threat. While the causes of hypertension arent fully known, contributing causes include:

  • Smoking
  • Sleep apnea
  • Chronic kidney disease

Blood pressure readings are represented by two numbers: systolic over diastolic. So in a reading of 120/80 , 120 represents the systolic reading and 80 represents the diastolic reading.

  • Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80
  • Elevated blood pressure is 120-129/less than 80
  • Stage 1 high blood pressure is 130-139/80-89
  • Stage 2 high blood pressure is 140 and above/90 and above

Any reading over 180/120 is characterized as a hypertension crisis and requires immediate clinical intervention.

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Monitoring And Treatment Of Resistant Hypertension

Reining in blood pressure levels begins with the basics, such as understanding your pressure patterns. Sometimes that means wearing a pager-sized automatic blood pressure recorder for 24 hours or checking pressure with an at-home monitor several times a day. Treatment also usually involves a change or addition of medications and investigation of secondary causes along with key lifestyle changes, including:

Heart Rate Vs Blood Pressure: Which One Is More Important For Health

With both blood pressure and heart rate, whats considered normal will vary. For example, if youre an athlete, a heart rate of 40 is considered normal and very healthy for you.

For someone whos not an athlete, that number could be dangerous! Similarly, you might be healthy with a heart rate of 80 beats per minute, while your neighbor might not be.

While an increase in heart rate can vary from one person to the next and still be considered normal, this isnt exactly the case with blood pressure. When your blood pressure is just a bit over the typical average over time, your risk of stroke and heart disease increases because the high blood pressure will put strain on your blood vessels.

For every increment of 20 mm Hg over 115 mm Hg systolic, your risk of chronic kidney disease, stroke, heart attack, and heart failure doubles.

Of course, its worth bearing in mind that having a high heart rate can also be dangerous, but the interesting thing is that what this could cause to happen to you isnt always clear.

For example, people with faster baseline heart rates are more likely to experience cardiac problems than people who dont, but its not clear if the increased heart rate is the cause of the problem or just a sign of an underlying problem.

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The Difference Between Blood Pressure And Heart Rate

Blood pressure and heart rate are two different measurements. While they are frequently measured at the same time in the doctors office, they are distinctly different factors in heart health.

Blood pressure is the force exerted against the artery walls when blood pumps through the body, usually measured with two numbers. The top number measures the pressure as the heart beats and moves blood into the arteries. The bottom number measures the pressure as the heart relaxes between beats. A blood pressure reading of 120/80 is considered normal.

Heart rate, also called pulse, is the number of times your heart beats per minute. Heart rate can change based on activity level, age, medication, and other factors throughout life. For most adults, a resting heart rate of 50 to 100 beats per minute is considered normal. People who exercise regularly often have lower resting heart rates.

In some situations, such as periods of acute stress or danger, blood pressure and heart rate may both increase at the same time, but thats not always the case. Your heart rate can increase without any change occurring in your blood pressure. As your heart beats faster, healthy blood vessels will expand in size to allow increased blood flow, which helps your blood pressure remain relatively stable. This is often true during exercise, when your heart rate can increase substantially but your blood pressure may only change slightly.

About The Aneroid Monitor

What you need to know about HR and BP

The aneroid monitor is less expensive than the digital monitor. The cuff is inflated by hand by squeezing a rubber bulb. Some units even have a special feature to make it easier to put the cuff on with one hand. However, the unit can be easily damaged and become less accurate. Because the person using it must listen for heartbeats with the stethoscope, it may not be appropriate for the hearing-impaired.

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Checking Your Blood Pressure Vs Heart Rate

Your resting heart rate indicates how hard your heart is working in its normal state. When you exert yourself, your heart rate increases. You can easily check your heart rate by finding your pulse in your neck or wrist and counting the number of heartbeats per one minute.

Your blood pressure is more complicated to check, as youll need a blood pressure cuff. Some drug stores and supermarkets have machines you can use to check your blood pressure or you can buy one. Otherwise, you can get it checked at your doctors office.

Its common to have some variation in your individual blood pressure readings. If a reading is borderline high, your doctor may have you repeat it on another day or watch it the next time you go to the doctors office. Your pulse can change as well, depending on your exertion and stress levels.

When youre looking at your overall health, its important to know the difference between your pulse and blood pressure numbers and what they signify. If you think your numbers are abnormal, talk to your doctor. If you dont have a doctor, find one at UPMC.

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