Arrhythmia Tachycardia And Other Conditions
A number of conditions can affect your heart rate. In general, an “arrhythmia” describes a heart rate that’s too fast, too slow or irregular.
While bradycardia describes when the heart rate is too low, tachycardia describes when one’s heart rate is too high, which generally means the resting heart rate exceeds 100 bpm, according to the National Institutes of Health. This generally occurs when electrical signals in the heart’s upper chambers fire abnormally.
If the heart rate is closer to 150 bpm or higher, it is a condition known as supraventricular tachycardia . In SVT, the electrical system that controls heart rate becomes dysfunctional. This generally requires medical attention.
What Is Maximum Heart Rate
Your maximum heart rate is a calculation that helps you figure out what your ideal target heart rate is during exercise.
You can estimate your maximum age-related heart rate . For example, for a 35-year-old person, the estimated maximum age-related heart rate would be calculated as 220 35 years = 185 beats per minute .
This maximum heart rate calculation helps you see if youre exercising too hard, or not putting enough energy in. Your target heart rate uses this calculation to reflect the ideal bpm you need for a great workout.
According to the American Heart Association , your target heart rate during moderate-intensity activities is about 50-70% of maximum heart rate, while vigorous physical activity should result in about 70-85% of your maximum.
So for this 35-year-old individual, a great target heart rate to aim for is between 93-157 bpm .
Factors That May Influence Healthy Resting Heart Rate
There are many different factors that can contribute to a higher or lower heart rate, including activity level, fitness level, air temperature, body position, emotions and stress level, body size, medications, food and drink, and illness. Depending on these factors, you may find you have a higher or lower heart rate. To get the most accurate resting heart rate measurement, you should be at complete rest. Measuring your heart rate during activity will render higher numbers, and if you go by those readings you may think your heart is at risk.
Additionally, it is important to recognize that resting heart rate tends to increase with age. Also, certain medications may also affect our resting heart rate, as drugs used to treat asthma, depression, obesity, and attention deficit disorder can lead to it increasing.
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What Should Your Resting Heart Rate Be
Out of all the health stats to keep your eye on, your resting heart rate might feel like one of the more boring ones.
Seeing your heart rate rise while you’re exercising can be a confidence boost, letting you know you’re getting a good workout in. Checking it when your heart feels like it’s beating out of your chest is a fun reminder of just how anxiety-inducing some everyday situations can be like going on a first date or watching sports.
But when you’re just sitting down binge-watching some TV or typing away at your computer checking your resting heart rate can feel…anti-climactic.
And yet, it’s important to do now and then. A healthy heart is a strong heart, after all.
“Monitoring your resting heart rate is important because it can help provide clues about your overall heart health. For instance, a consistently high resting heart rate can be a sign that your heart isn’t working as efficiently as it could be. In some cases, it can even be a sign of an underlying heart condition,” explains Dr. Bindu Chebrolu, cardiologist at Houston Methodist.
Plus, one of the benefits of knowing your resting heart rate is that there are ways to lower it if it is too high.
Clinical Contributors To This Story
Sarah L. Timmapuri, M.D. contributes to topics such as Cardiac / Heart Health, Exercise / Fitness.
If your heart is racing as youre sitting reading this article, its possible your body is trying to tell you something. A high resting heart rate, or a heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute, means your heart is working extra hard to pump blood through your body. And, that extra effort could result in a wide range of negative effects on your overall health, including feelings of dizziness and fatigue and most seriously blood clots, heart failure and, in rare cases, sudden death.
Normal resting heart rate is anywhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute, and its simple to check how fast yours is beating. While idle, hold your pointer and middle finger between your bone and tendon on the thumb side on your wrist until you feel your pulse, and count the number of beats for a minute that is your resting heart rate.
Certain aspects of someones resting heart rate are directly connected to uncontrollable factors, such as age and genetics, however there are certain actions that be taken to help decrease heart rate and improve overall wellbeing for those whose resting heart rate is above normal.
Here are six proven ways to lower your resting heart rate:
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Its Great To Exercise Your Heart Rate In Many Different Ways And Here Are Some Options For You
- Doing an interval workout every week to train higher heart rates mixed with lower paces will help with building heart strength.
- Doing low intensity steady state or LISS. Finding a comfortable heart rate zone and maintaining for 30 or more minutes. You can do this multiple days per week.
- A moderate pace is great for heart health, endurance, and will put you in a fat burning zone. This workout can be done in many ways such as on the elliptical where you find it challenging but not quite the intensity of high intensity intervals.
- Be sure to add variety to keep things fun and interesting for you. Play your favorite sport, chase your kids or dogs around. Spend one of your workouts blending some fun moves together, like jumping rope, mountain climbers, shooting hoops, and jogging.
- Make cardiovascular training fun. If you dont you wont stick with it!
Is Resting Heart Rate Different By Age
For most of us , between 60 and 100 beats per minute is normal.1 The rate can be affected by factors like stress, anxiety, hormones, medication, and how physically active you are. An athlete or more active person may have a resting heart rate as low as 40 beats per minute. Now thats chill!
When it comes to resting heart rate, lower is better. It usually means your heart muscle is in better condition and doesnt have to work as hard to maintain a steady beat. Studies have found that a higher resting heart rate is linked with lower physical fitness and higher blood pressure and body weight.2
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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.
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.
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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.
What’s A Normal Heart Rate
Most adults have a resting heart rate between 60 and 100bpm.
The fitter you are, the lower your resting heart rate is likely to be. For example, athletes may have a resting heart rate of 40 to 60bpm, or lower.
See a GP to get checked if you think your heart rate is continuously above 120bpm or below 60bpm, although it may simply be that this is normal for you.
Find out more about how to check your pulse on the British Heart Foundation website.
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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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Maintaining A Normal Heart Rate
A healthy heartbeat is crucial for protecting cardiac health.
While exercise is important for promoting a low and healthy heart rate, there are several other steps a person can take to protect their heart health, including:
- Reducing stress: Stress can contribute to an increased heart rate and blood pressure. Ways to keep stress at bay include deep breathing, yoga, mindfulness training, and meditation.
- Avoiding tobacco: Smoking leads to a higher heart rate, and quitting can reduce it to a normal level.
- Losing weight: More body weight means that the heart has to work harder to provide all areas of the body with oxygen and nutrients.
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Can Resting Heart Rate Be Too Low
While less common, some people may have a resting heart rate that falls lower than 60 beats per minute.
“When a person’s heart muscle is in excellent condition, it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep a steady beat. Therefore, people who exercise frequently and are very physically fit can have a resting heart rate that falls below 60 beats per minute. In fact, a trained athlete’s resting heart rate can be as low as 40 beats per minute,” explains Dr. Chebrolu.
Additionally, medications, specifically beta blockers, can also slow your heart rate.
“The time to worry about a low heart rate is if you’re not very active and you’re not taking medications but your resting heart rate frequently falls below 60 beats per minute, especially if you’re also experiencing dizziness, shortness of breath or fainting,” warns Dr. Chebrolu. “This can be a sign of bradycardia a slower than normal heart rate that can lead to poor oxygen flow to your vital organs.”
How Low Is Too Low For A Resting Heart Rate
Generally speaking, a persons resting heart rate is normal if its between 60 and 100 beats per minute, says Dr. Brian Mikolasko of Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston. There are a ton of different factors that play into what it is for each individual, from fitness level to age and environment.
The standard resting heart rate window actually varies the most in young children. Up to 1 month, heart rate ranges from 70 to 190 beats per minute. The upper limit of that range declines slowly until age 9, when the range is sits between 70 and 110 beats per minute. From 10 years old and beyond, the window sits constant between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
Whereas a resting heart rate of 42 or even 38 beats per minute can be typical for a well-trained endurance runner or triathlete, that would be pretty low for someone who is a casual exerciser. Best measured before you start moving around first thing in the morning, a resting heart rate is much different than what youll see during exercise.
Because the normal range of a resting heart rate is between 60 to 100 bpm, a resting heart rate under 60 beats per minute is considered slow, often referred to as bradycardia.
It is not unusual for healthy people involved in endurance activities to develop a bradycardia based on the increased vagal tone from training that suppresses heart rate, says William O. Roberts, M.D., a professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota.
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Lowering A Rapid Heart Rate
Heart rates can spike due to nervousness, stress, dehydration and overexertion. Sitting down, taking slow, deep breaths and rehydrating can help lower your heart rate in these instances.
In the long-term, maintaining a regular exercise schedule can help to lower and then maintain your resting heart rate over time. Smoking cigarettes raises the heart rate, in part due to nicotine’s effects on the circulatory systems blood vessels, so quitting smoking can also help lower one’s heart rate to a healthy range, according to Harvard Health.
To lower your heart rate in a healthy way after exercise, the AHA and Mayo Clinic recommend that you “cool down” by continuing to move for about 5 to 10 minutes, but at a slower pace and reduced intensity compared with the rest of your workout. For instance, Mayo suggests the following cool down activities:
- To cool down after a brisk walk, walk slowly for five to 10 minutes.
- To cool down after a run, walk briskly for five to 10 minutes.
- To cool down after swimming, swim laps leisurely for five to 10 minutes.
Cooling down after a workout helps gradually bring your heart rate down to pre-exercise levels, thus helping you avoid potential feelings of dizziness or nausea that can occur when the heart rate falls too rapidly. It’s unclear whether including a cool down in your workout helps to prevent muscle stiffness or soreness after exercise, but more research is needed in this area, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Final Word From The Doctor
“Know that if you are indoors with people from outside your household, you WILL be exposed to Omicron. The only Q is whether you’ll get infected. If you wear a very good mask and are careful, you CAN prevent it.” So follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you liveget vaccinated or boosted ASAP wear an N95 face mask, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with, practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.
Eat This, Not That!
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What Is A Slow Or Fast Heart Rate
Heart rate that averages above 100 beats per minute is called tachycardia. You can develop a high heart rate because of things like fever, anemia, dehydration, or physical or emotional stress, which triggers the release of the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline.
“Adrenaline is like gasoline on a fire for heart rate,” says Traynor. It can also lead to bigger problemseverything from fainting spells to more serious issues like blood clots that lead to stroke, or eventual heart failure .
A 2010 study found that people with a resting heart rate at or above 84 beats per minutes over the span of five years were 55 percent more likely to die of heart disease than those with lower resting heart rates were.
On the other hand, a resting heart rate below 60 beats per minute is called bradycardia, and can cause insufficient blood flow to the brain.
“An abnormally low heart rate can lead to symptoms such as feeling tired, lightheaded, dizzy, and may even cause loss of consciousness,” says Suneet Mittal, M.D, FHRS, of the Heart Rhythm Society .
You can develop a low resting heart if you take certain meds, like beta blockers for high blood pressure, or meds for hypothyroidism. Electrical abnormalities in the heart’s pathways can also lower your rate, too.
But a low rate resting heart isnt always a bad thing. Endurance athletessay, cyclists or runnerscan have resting heart rates below 40 beats per minute.