Irregular Rates And What The Mean
Irregular resting heart rates are often an indication of an underlying condition. Sleep apnea creates a drop in the heart rate followed by a quick acceleration. Because sleep apnea stops respiration, the heart slows and then starts back up quickly. This creates irregular heart rates and may be diagnosed as true cardiac arrhythmia.
Why A Low Resting Heart Rate Is A Sign Of Fitness
To put it simply, When your heart rate goes down, it means that each heart beat is more effective . A low resting heart rate is an indication of a strong heart muscle that can pump out a greater amount of blood with every beat so it does not have to beat as frequently.
Your physical fitness is directly correlated to the strength of your heart. When your heart is in better condition and doesnt need to work as hard to push blood throughout the body and deliver oxygen to your muscles, your fitness improves.
Resting Heart Rate : Everything You Need To Know
Originally published July 6, 2016 3:58 pm, updated August 18, 2021
One of the easiest and maybe most effective ways to gauge your health and aerobic fitness level is via your resting heart rate . By measuring it regularly, you can see both your long-term progress and daily fluctuations, which can indicate whether youre fit for training, overtrained, or stressed. Heres everything you need to know to understand what affects RHR and why it matters.
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Normal Heart Rate Chart When Resting
A resting heart rate is defined as a pulse that is taken when you are calm, sitting or lying down, and the best time to measure a resting heart rate is in the morning before you leave the bed. Generally speaking, a lower heart rate functions more effectively and efficiently.
How to Take Your Heart Rate
Check your own pulse by placing the tips of your first three fingers lightly on the inside of your wrist below your thumb. You can also check your pulse by placing two fingers on your neck beside the windpipe. You may have to feel around until you feel the pulse beneath your fingers. Once you feel a pulse, use the second hand of a watch or clock to time 10 seconds while simultaneously counting your heart beats. Then multiply the number of heartbeats by 6 to get your heart rate per minute, or number of beats = ______ x 6 = ______beats/min.
Then compare it to the normal heart rate chart below:
How Do I Determine Heart Rate
Take your pulse on the inside of your wrist on the thumb side or on the side of your neck next to your larynx .
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When Should I Worry About My Heart Rate
Before you become worried over your heart rate, it is important to know the things that can increase or decrease your heart rate.
Your heart rate might be increased
- Soon after you consume coffee or smoke
- Whenever you feel scared, anxious, or stressed out
- If the climate is hot and humid
- If you are obese
- If you are on certain medicines like decongestants
- If you indulge in binge drinking frequently
Health conditions that may increase your heart rate and could be improved upon by treatment
Some conditions like supraventricular tachycardia may cause a sudden increase in your heart rate at rest. This is a medical emergency and needs immediate medical attention. This condition may lead to sudden death.
Consuming heavy amounts of alcohol frequently can lead to a fast and irregular heart rate . This again is a medical emergency.
A persistent high heart rate can also mean that the heart muscle is weakened, which forces it to pump harder to deliver the same amount of blood.
You may have a lower resting heart rate due to
- Exercising regularly
- Low levels of thyroid hormones in the body
You should also be concerned about your heart rate if you notice your heart beating on an irregular rhythm frequently. This can be a serious condition known as arrhythmia for which you should see your doctor right away.
What Is A Dangerous Resting Heart Rate
A resting heart rate can be dangerous if its too fast, tachycardia, or too slow, bradycardia. Tachycardia is generally over 100 bpm and bradycardia is generally below 60 bpm . A resting heart rate that is too fast or too slow could be the result of a more serious underlying health problem.
What Is Tachycardia?
Tachycardia is a resting heart rate that is too fast . It can be caused by congenital heart disease, poor circulation, anemia, hypertension, or injury to the heart, such as a heart attack . Tachycardia is also associated with a shorter life expectancy .
What Is Bradycardia?
Bradycardia is a slow resting heart rate . It can be caused by hypotension, congenital heart disease, damage to the heart , chronic inflammation, or myocarditis .
If you have a resting heart rate that is too high or too low for an extended period of time, it can cause dangerous health conditions such as heart failure, blood clots, fainting, and sudden cardiac arrest.
if your resting heart rate is consistently above 100 bpm or below 60 bpm , you should see your doctor or medical provider. Additionally, you should watch for symptoms such as fainting, shortness of breath, feeling dizzy or light-headed, chest pain, or feeling discomfort or fluttering in your chest.
Can You Change Your Resting Heart Rate
If you run or do other moderate to vigorous physical activity regularly, you can lower your resting heart rate. Thats because exercise strengthens the heart muscle, allowing it to pump a higher volume of blood with each heartbeat. As a result, more oxygen gets delivered to the muscles, so the heart doesnt need to beat as many times as it would in someone who is less fit.
As people age, the resting heart rate stays about the same unless they are taking medicines that slow heart rate, such as beta blockers or calcium channel blockers.
To determine your resting heart rate, try taking your pulse when you wake up a few days a week over the course of several weeks. With your index and middle fingers, press lightly on the opposite wrist, just below the fat pad of your thumb. Or press gently on the side of your neck, just below your jawbone. Count the number of beats over a period of 30 seconds. Double that number to get your heart rate in beats per minute.
A resting heart rate that is too low , or one that is 100 or higher, could be a sign of trouble and should prompt a call to your doctor.
What Is A Normal Resting Heart Rate
A normal resting heart rate for adults is between 60 beats per minute and 100 bpm. An abnormal pulse rate below 60 bpm or above 100 bpm could increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, or early death.
Normal Resting Heart Rate for Women
The normal resting heart rate for adult women is similar for men, between 60 bpm and 100 bpm. Age and activity level are more important factors for heart rate.
Studies show that having high resting heart rate increases your risk even after controlling for other factors such as physical fitness, blood pressure, and lipid levels.
Is a resting heart rate of 80 bad? A bpm of 80 is still within the normal range, but over 90 can be dangerous.
One study tested the resting heart rate of about 3,000 men over 16 years. The study found that, after accounting for other risk factors, men with a resting heart rate over 90 bpm were three times more likely to die than the men with the lowest RHR.
Further, an increase in heart rate over time is associated with an increased risk of death from heart disease and all-cause mortality.
Is A Low Resting Heart Rate Good Or Dangerous?
At the other extreme, one study found that having a low resting heart rate is a risk factor for atrial fibrillation in athletes.
Having a heart rate below 60 bpm doesnt mean that youre not healthy. For example, a low RHR could be the result of taking a drug such as a beta-blocker. Moreover, athletes generally have lower heart rates.
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Benefits Of Sleep For Heart Health
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , getting enough sleep is very important for heart health. During sleep, both your heart rate and your blood pressure go down. Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep to allow the body to rest and repair.
The CDC says that lack of sleep may raise your risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Lack of sleep is also linked to health problems, such as type 2 diabetes and obesity, which can contribute to heart disease.
How To Lower Your Heart Rate With Exercise
High-Intensity Interval Training is a training method where you give 100% effort in a quick, intense burst of exercise, followed by a short resting period. HIIT increases your maximum heart rate and lowers your RHR.
HIIT is as simple as doing one exercise, like sprinting, as fast as you can safely run for 30 seconds, then resting for 90 seconds.
Warm-up first and start with one rep.
Rest for several days in between HIIT days. Build up slowly to a workout of several reps that only takes about 15 minutes. Then try adding new exercises.
For the best results, dont set an arbitrary time. Instead, push yourself to your max. And then rest and recover until youre ready to give 100% again. For instance, give 100% effort for 15 seconds and rest for five minutes.
Learn more about the health benefits of HIIT and how to do it the right way in this short HIIT video from Thomas DeLauer.
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What Is A Healthy Resting Heart Rate For An Adult
A normal resting heart rate for adults lies somewhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute , and varies based on age group and gender. Women’s heart rates are about 2-7 BPM faster than men’s on average.
Generally speaking, you want to keep your resting heart rate as low as possible. One large, long-term study compared men with heart rates above 90 and those below 80. The men with higher average heart rates were associated with triple the risk of death.
People with lower heart rates tend to be more active and get more exercise than others. A young, highly-trained athlete’s healthy resting heart rate may be as low as 40 BPM.
Women May Have A Higher Resting Heart Rate Than Men
Research has found that women up to 55 years old have a higher resting heart rate when compared with men. According to the American College of Cardiology, this may have something to do with the difference in sex hormones, especially testoserone, which is higher in men.
Parwani says some data has shown that sex hormones, body size, and heart size can have an effect on the differences in heart rate between men and women. But there are many factors that may influence someone’s heart rate, including:
- Lack of sleep
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Correlation With Cardiovascular Mortality Risk
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A number of investigations indicate that faster resting heart rate has emerged as a new risk factor for mortality in homeothermic mammals, particularly cardiovascular mortality in human beings. Faster heart rate may accompany increased production of inflammation molecules and increased production of reactive oxygen species in cardiovascular system, in addition to increased mechanical stress to the heart. There is a correlation between increased resting rate and cardiovascular risk. This is not seen to be “using an allotment of heart beats” but rather an increased risk to the system from the increased rate.
Given these data, heart rate should be considered in the assessment of cardiovascular risk, even in apparently healthy individuals. Heart rate has many advantages as a clinical parameter: It is inexpensive and quick to measure and is easily understandable. Although the accepted limits of heart rate are between 60 and 100 beats per minute, this was based for convenience on the scale of the squares on electrocardiogram paper a better definition of normal sinus heart rate may be between 50 and 90 beats per minute.
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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Slow Resting Heart Rates
A slow resting heart rate can mean different things, depending on the circumstances. For example, it sometimes suggests that a person has a healthier heart says Dr. Jason Wasfy at Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center. In certain cases, a lower resting heart rate can mean a higher degree of physical fitness, which is associated with reduced rates of cardiac events like heart attacks.
In other cases, having a slow heart rate could signify something more serious it all depends on your activity level and age. Its normal for the elderly to have a lower than average resting heart rate, for example. So what if your resting heart rate is well below 60 bpm, but youre not an athlete or a senior?
According to the American Heart Association, this could suggest the presence of bradycardia when a persons heart rate is lower than it should be. Bradycardia doesnt always cause symptoms, but when it does, it can cause lightheadedness, weakness, confusion, and lack of energy when exercising. Having these symptoms in addition to a low heart rate may mean its time to seek medical advice.
High Resting Heart Rates
In contrast, Wasfy adds that having a high number of beats per minute could increase a persons risk of cardiac diseases. When the heart has to work harder to pump the same amount of blood throughout the body, it wears out faster. A chronically high heart rate above 100 bpm is called tachycardia, and it can be caused by anxiety, fatigue, electrolyte imbalance, overconsumption of alcohol or caffeine, drug use, or other underlying medical conditions.
The negative effects of a fast heart rate were demonstrated in a heart rate study conducted by Copenhagen University Hospital. This study found that a higher resting heart rate was directly correlated with health problems and a higher risk of death. Specifically, the risk of mortality increased by 16% for every additional 10 beats per minute.
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The Main 3 Things To Check For
Your dogs overall well-being depends on not just their RPM, but their respiration, and their temperature as well. This trifecta is what vets examine when you bring your pup in for a physical, and it can tell them a lot about whats going on inside of the dog’s body.
Respiration relates to their breathing, and a normal resting rate would be 10 to 35 breaths per minute for all healthy dogs.
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.
What Is Considered A Normal Sleeping Heart Rate
Sleeping heart rate should generally be somewhat lower than normal resting heart rate while awake, because the body typically relaxes very deeply during sleep. As a person begins to fall asleep, the heart rate begins to slow, and studies suggest that this process can begin as soon as a person knows he is preparing for sleep. As the body relaxes into a deep sleep state, core body temperature can decrease and metabolism usually slows, in addition to heart rate. Physical fitness level, age, and recent stress levels can all influence sleeping heart rate. Most experts believe, however, that normal heart rate during sleep should be eight to ten percent lower than normal resting heart rate while awake. A sleeping heart rate that is not at least eight percent lower than normal resting heart rate while awake could be a danger sign.
There are at least five stages of sleep, and sleeping heart rate can vary throughout each of the sleep stages. The first four stages of sleep, generally categorized as sleep stages one through four, occur as the body relaxes more and more deeply. This process of physiological relaxation accounts for about 80 percent of most peoples’ sleep time. Heart rate usually begins to slow as stage one sleep is entered, and slows further as the body relaxes further.