What Your Heart Rate Says About Your Cardiovascular Health
Your heart is responsible for pumping blood and oxygen throughout your body and if youre having heart troubles, the rest of your body will be impacted too.
A higher resting heart rate can be dangerous because it taxes the heart, making it work harder. This is linked to a higher risk of heart disease and death, just like high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Resting heart rates that near or exceed 100 should be brought to the attention of your doctor.
About The Aneroid Monitor
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.
How Do I Check My Pulse
You can check your heart rate by taking your pulse and counting how many times your heart beats in a minute.
There are fitness trackers or devices available in retail outlets that can measure your heart rate. Don’t rely on these devices too much as the accuracy depends on the quality of the device.
See your doctor or GP if you are worried about your pulse.
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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.
Exercise And Your Pulse
If you check your pulse during or immediately after exercise, it may give an indication of your fitness level. A heart rate monitor is also useful for recording your heart rate when resting and during exercise.
Aerobic activities such as walking, running and swimming are good types of exercise because they increase your heart and breathing rates.
If you haven’t exercised before, or haven’t for some time, see our Live Well section to read about the benefits of exercise and how much exercise you should be doing.
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Why The Test Is Performed
Measuring the pulse gives important information about your health. Any change from your normal heart rate can indicate a health problem. Fast pulse may signal an infection or dehydration. In emergency situations, the pulse rate can help determine if the person’s heart is pumping.
Pulse measurement has other uses as well. During or immediately after exercise, the pulse rate gives information about your fitness level and health.
What Abnormal Results Mean
Resting heart rates that are continually high may mean a problem. Talk to your health care provider about this. Also discuss resting heart rates that are below the normal values .
A pulse that is very firm and that lasts for more than a few minutes should be checked by your provider as well. An irregular pulse can also indicate a problem.
A pulse that is hard to locate may mean blockages in the artery. These blockages are common in people with diabetes or hardening of the artery from high cholesterol. Your provider may order a test known as a Doppler study to check the blockages.
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What Is Body Temperature
The normal body temperature of a person varies depending on gender, recent activity, food and fluid consumption, time of day, and, in women, the stage of the menstrual cycle. Normal body temperature can range from 97.8 degrees F to 99 degrees F for a healthy adult. A person’s body temperature can be taken in any of the following ways:
Orally. Temperature can be taken by mouth using either the classic glass thermometer, or the more modern digital thermometers that use an electronic probe to measure body temperature.
Rectally. Temperatures taken rectally tend to be 0.5 to 0.7 degrees F higher than when taken by mouth.
Axillary. Temperatures can be taken under the arm using a glass or digital thermometer. Temperatures taken by this route tend to be 0.3 to 0.4 degrees F lower than those temperatures taken by mouth.
A special thermometer can quickly measure the temperature of the ear drum, which reflects the body’s core temperature .
A special thermometer can quickly measure the temperature of the skin on the forehead.
Body temperature may be abnormal due to fever or hypothermia . A fever is indicated when body temperature rises about one degree or more over the normal temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Hypothermia is defined as a drop in body temperature below 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
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.
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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.
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.
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What Is A Normal Heart Rate In Your Age
Heart rate, also known as pulse, is the number of times a persons heart beats per minute. A normal heart rate depends upon the individual, age, body size, heart disease, whether the person is sitting or moving, medication use and even air temperature level. Even feelings can have an impact on heart rate. For instance, getting excited or scared can increase the heart rate. But most significantly, getting fitter decreases the heart rate, by making heart muscles work more efficiently.
How To Calculate Resting Heart Rate
To check your normal resting heart rate, you can use a heart rate monitor, or use this 10-second pulse count method:
- Take your pulse at either the base of your thumb on the palm side of your wrist, or the base of your neck on either side of your windpipe.
- Using two or three fingers, press lightly on your skin until you can feel your blood moving underneath.
- Count the beats for 10 seconds, then multiply that number by six.
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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.
Blood Pressure Vs Heart Rate
Some people confuse high blood pressure with a high heart rate. Blood pressure is the measurement of the force of the blood against the walls of arteries, while pulse rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute.
There is no direct correlation between the two, and high blood pressure, or hypertension, does not necessarily result in a high pulse rate, and vice versa. Heart rate goes up during strenuous activity, but a vigorous workout may only modestly increase blood pressure.
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What Are Heart Palpitations
A heart palpitation is when you suddenly become aware of your heart beating, usually in an irregular way. Sometimes you can feel it in your ears or your chest when youre lying down. Your heart beat may feel:
- too fast or slow
- like its fluttering
- like its thudding, or pounding.
It is not unusual to feel heart palpitations occasionally and mostly they are harmless. However if youre experiencing them on a regular basis, see your doctor.
Lowering A Rapid Heart Rate
Pulse rates can spike due to nervousness, stress, dehydration and overexertion. Sitting down and taking slow, deep breaths can generally lower your heart rate. Exercising and getting fitter will usually lower heart rate, too.
Cooling down after a workout is important, according to the AHA. Because your heart is beating faster, your body temperature is higher and your blood vessels are dilated, stopping too fast could make you feel sick or even pass out.
The AHA recommends stretching and walking. Stretching helps reduce the buildup of lactic acid, which cause cramps and stiff muscles. Follow these tips:
- Walk for about 5 minutes, or until your heart rate gets below 120 beats per minute.
- Stretch, and hold each stretch 10 to 30 seconds. If you feel you need more, stretch the other side and return for another set of stretching.
- The stretch should be strong, but not painful.
- Do not bounce.
- Breathe while youre stretching. Exhale as you stretch, inhale while holding the stretch.
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Maximum And Target Heart Rate For People Below 50
There is no definitive medical recommendations on when a resting heart rate is high, however a lot of medical specialists concur that a constant heart rate in the upper levels can put too much stress on the heart and other organs. If an individual has a high heart rate at rest and is experiencing other symptoms, doctors might analyze his or her heart function, Bauman said.
Knowing your heart rate during workout sessions can help understand whether you are doing too much or not enough, the AHA says. When individuals work out in their target heart zone, they acquire the most benefits and improve their hearts health. When your heart rate remains in the target zone you know you are pressing the muscle to obtain more powerful, Bauman said.
An individuals target heart rate zone is between 50 and 85 percent of his or her maximum heart rate, according to the AHA.
A lot of commonly, maximum heart rate is calculate by subtracting your age from 220:
220 Age. For a 30-year-old person, for example: 220 30 = 190.
The target zone for a 30-year-old individual would be between 50 and 85 percent of his/her maximum heart rate:
- 50 level: 190 x 0.50 = 95 bpm
- 85 percent level: 190 x 0.85 = 162 bpm
What Can Resting Heart Rate Readings Indicate
Resting heart rate is an indicator of fitness and general health. They are:
- In adults, a lower heart rate is correlated with a higher degree of fitness and a lower incidence of cardiac events, such as heart attacks.
- Highly trained athletes can have an RHR as low as 40. This may be because the lower rate translates to a heart muscle that is stronger and can pump blood more efficiently. Another explanation is that with vigorous exercise, there is the release of nitrous oxide in the hearts blood vessels, which increases the blood supply to the heart.
- However, a consistently higher heart rate has been associated with cardiovascular issues and premature death.
- A 2013 research that studied 3000 men for 16 years found that men with RHR greater than 90 were associated with triple the risk of death when compared to men with RHR below 80.
- An observational study conducted in Norway that looked at 20,000 participants found similar results, even when controlled for factors, such as body mass index and life.
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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.
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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High Blood Pressure Vs High Heart Rate
Some individuals confuse high blood pressure with a high heart rate. Blood pressure is the measurement of the force of the blood against the walls of arteries, while pulse rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute.
There is no direct connection in between the two, and high blood pressure does not always lead to a high pulse rate, and vice versa. Heart rate goes up during laborious activity, however a vigorous workout may just modestly enhance high blood pressure.
Before You Measure Your Blood Pressure:
The American Heart Association recommends the following guidelines for home blood pressure monitoring:
Don’t smoke or drink coffee for 30 minutes before taking your blood pressure.
Go to the bathroom before the test.
Relax for 5 minutes before taking the measurement.
Sit with your back supported . Keep your feet on the floor uncrossed. Place your arm on a solid flat surface with the upper part of the arm at heart level. Place the middle of the cuff directly above the bend of the elbow. Check the monitor’s instruction manual for an illustration.
Take multiple readings. When you measure, take 2 to 3 readings one minute apart and record all the results.
Take your blood pressure at the same time every day, or as your healthcare provider recommends.
Record the date, time, and blood pressure reading.
Take the record with you to your next medical appointment. If your blood pressure monitor has a built-in memory, simply take the monitor with you to your next appointment.
When blood pressure reaches a systolic of 180 or higher OR diastolic of 110 or higher, seek emergency medical treatment.
Ask your doctor or another healthcare professional to teach you how to use your blood pressure monitor correctly. Have the monitor routinely checked for accuracy by taking it with you to your doctor’s office. It is also important to make sure the tubing is not twisted when you store it and keep it away from heat to prevent cracks and leaks.
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