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.
What Is Low Heart Rate
The medical definition of bradycardia is a heart rate that is slower than 60 beats per minute
Note: According to the American Heart Association, for a healthy person, your heart rate should fall between a range of 60-100 beats per minute when you are resting.
However, for most people, the figure should be closer to 60 than 100, as a score of 90 or above is still a mild cause for concern. Heart rate scores that are slightly lower than the 60 BPM low point are typically acceptable too.
In most cases, however, bradycardia is rarely ever a cause for concern. Plus, what your general practitioner will consider too low varies depending on factors like your physical conditions and your age.
Furthermore, with heart rate, lower is better, and it is quite common for healthy people to post sub-60 BPM scores. Nevertheless, when you get to the sub-50 range, things can get quite iffy as a heart rate that low can stem from a host of other underlying conditions.
So, should you worry about a low heart rate reading? It depends. It depends on the underlying factor that is causing the attenuation of your BPM.
How Is Resting Heart Rate Calculated
Measuring your resting heart rate is as easy as checking your pulse, which can be felt on the side of your neck or the underside of your wrist .
While sitting down and once you feel your pulse count the number of beats you feel over the span of 30 seconds . Multiply this number by two to calculate your heart beats per minute.
“To get an accurate representation of your resting heart rate, repeat this process a few times and over the course of a few days,” adds Dr. Chebrolu.
She also advises against checking your heart rate immediately after a stressful event, strenuous activity or consuming caffeine, which can lead to temporary elevation in your heart rate.
Additionally, most wearable fitness trackers and smart watches provide insights into your heart rate. And since these devices collect measurements throughout the day, they’re a simple way to effortlessly monitor your average resting heart rate.
“The heart rate measurements taken by wearable devices may not be as reliable as checking your pulse by hand, but they can help you track general trends and spot changes in your resting heart rate,” says Dr. Chebrolu.
And while some smartwatches now come with an ECG feature that can help monitor for heart rhythm issues, these devices alone cannot detect a life-threatening arrhythmia, such as atrial fibrillation .
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Easy Things You Can Do To Lower Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is dangerous. It can lead to many health problems, including heart attack, stroke, heart failure, angina, coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, kidney disease, vision loss, sexual dysfunction and more.
Fortunately, high blood pressure can often be prevented or controlled.
Here are some easy things you can do to lower your blood pressure or help prevent high blood pressure in the first place.
Set small, easily attainable goals, and when you reach them, set bigger ones. Step by step, you will take control of your health and your blood pressure.
When Your Heart Rate Spikes
Sometimes, your pulse might jump up for a little while. Most of the time, you heart will slow down naturally. If not, or if it happens regularly, these things can help get that number down.
Vagal maneuvers: These physical actions can reset your heart rate. For example, hold your nose and breathe out of your mouth. Itâs similar to when you want to pop your ears when youâre on an airplane. Or you can put your face in ice-cold water for several seconds or cough forcefully.
Medication: Your doctor may prescribe it to help treat an abnormal heart rate. Things like beta-blockers may help prevent future episodes.
Catheter ablation: Sometimes the cause of your racing pulse may be an extra electrical pathway in the heart. Your doctor would perform this procedure, which makes it so the extra circuit no longer sends signals. It doesnât require surgery. Usually, this is suggested only when medicines don’t work.
American Heart Association: âKnow your target heart rates of exercise, losing weight and health,â “Tachycardia: Fast Heart Rate,â “Ablation for Arrhythmias.”
CDC: âHealth Effects of Cigarette Smoking.â
Circulation: âFish Consumption is Associated with Lower Heart Rates.â
The Heart Foundation: âYour Heart Rate.â
âWhatâs a normal resting heart rate?â
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Foods That Lower Heart Rate Could Save Your Life
The bottom line is that an elevated heart rate can signal a serious heart problem, with possible complications including frequent fainting, heart failure, and blood clots. These all can lead to stroke or heart attack, and in rare cases, sudden death also may occur.
Ventricular tachycardia is another complication where the ventricles of the heart beat faster than normal, and this can lead to dysrhythmias and problems with the blood pumping efficiently throughout the brain and body.
That is why therapies and foods that help regulate heart rate are important. Vagal maneuvers, deep breathing, yoga, acupuncture, and regular exercise can all help lower your heart rate in the moment and over the long term. Some of the key foods for heart rate regulation include turmeric, garlic, spinach, avocado, bananas, nuts, seeds, beans, and other legumes. Keep this in mind if you have problems with an irregular heartbeat.
How Do You Find Your Pulse
The easiest place to find your pulse is in your wrist.
- Turn your hand so that your palm is facing upwards.
- Now place the three middle fingers from your other hand over your wrist below the base of your thumb.
- Press lightly to feel the pulse under your fingers. If you can’t feel anything press slightly harder.
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How To Find Your Target Heart Rate
First, it helps to know your resting heart rate, Martin says. Find your pulse . Then count the number of beats in a minutethats your resting heart rate. The average resting heart rate is between 60 and 100, he says. The more fit you are, the lower your resting heart rate for very fit people, its in the range of 40 to 50 beats per minute.
Target heart rate is generally expressed as a percentage of your maximum safe heart rate. The maximum rate is based on your age, as subtracted from 220. So for a 50-year-old, maximum heart rate is 220 minus 50, or 170 beats per minute. At a 50 percent exertion level, your target would be 50 percent of that maximum, or 85 beats per minute. At an 85 percent level of exertion, your target would be 145 beats per minute. Therefore, the target heart rate that a 50-year-old would want to aim for during exercise is 85 to 145 beats per minute.
But theres an easier way to figure it out if you want to skip the math: Wear a fitness tracking device, or exercise on a treadmill or other machine that calculates target heart rate for you, Blaha suggests.
What Is Heart Rate
The cardiovascular system circulates blood throughout the body in order to supply oxygen and other nutrients and to remove waste products. Each time the heart beats blood is pumped out of the heart and into the body to supply oxygen to working muscles or to the lungs for re-oxygenation. Heart rate refers to the number of times the heart beats per minute, and is directly related to the workload being placed on the heart. When the body is in a resting state , resting heart rate is measured. A normal resting heart rate ranges from 60-100 beats per minute . Resting rates higher than 100 bpm suggest that the heart is working too hard to circulate blood, and thus may indicate a serious problem that should be monitored by a physician. Resting rates lower than 60 bpm occur more often with endurance-trained athletes whose bodies are more efficient at utilizing oxygen from the blood.
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.
How To Check Your Heart Rate
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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Splash Your Face With Cold Water
Take ice water and pour it on your face or alternatively, deep your face in ice water. This stimulates the vagus nerve to slow down the heart rate by causing a dive reflex. The dive reflex is what slows down your metabolism and is what makes it possible for some people to survive underwater for a long time. Keep your face in the ice water until you notice a drop in your heart rate.
Lowering Your Heart Rate
There are several ways you can do this to help your heart stay healthy:
Exercise. Physical activity strengths your heart just like other muscles in your body. It trains your heart to be more efficient so it doesnât work as hard when youâre at rest. A walk, bicycle ride, or yoga class can all help.
Relax.Stress can send hormones like adrenaline and cortisol racing through your blood, which can raise your heart rate. Things like meditation and yoga can help lower stress levels. Over the long term, they can lower your resting heart rate, too.
Eat more fish. A healthy diet is the cornerstone of heart health. In addition to fruits and vegetables, which are rich in vitamins and minerals, add fish to your menu. Eating it regularly can help lower your heart rate.
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When To Worry About Low Heart Rate
Our heartbeat is one of our most essential biomarkers. One of the most significant statements to the significance of this bodily function is its recognition world over as one of the principal medical markers for the presence of life.
However, the importance of your heartbeat extends beyond acting as a notification that you are still alive.
The heartbeat is a rhythmic contraction of the cardiac muscles. These muscles then control the pumping of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood around your body. Consequently, the rate of your heartbeats can be a direct measure of the function and overall health of the organ.
Furthermore, in the multifaceted and interconnected system that is the body, a variance in heart rate levels can be an indicator for a host of conditions, including the adrenaline rush from exercise or fear, hormonal imbalances, psychological issues, or other underlying medical problems.
With heart rate, when you are at rest, less is often always better. Generally, a lower resting heart rate indicates that the organ is performing more efficiently than average. Lower heart rates are usually standard among well-trained athletes and people with high cardiovascular fitness levels.
A lower rate implies that your heart does not have to overexert itself to provide the rest of your body with the minimum required amount of oxygenated blood.
Ways To Stop A Racing Heart At Home Within Minutes
A normal heart rate is believed to be between 60 and 100 beats per minute. But some experts tend to think that the ideal resting heart rate is 5070 beats. The causes that can provoke tachycardia can be dangerous or they just represent our reaction to the conditions we live in . If you notice that your heart works faster, the first thing you should do is to consult a doctor.
Here at Bright Side, we care about our readers and have made a list of techniques that can be the first remedy in this unpleasant situation. If you see no improvements in your condition for 1520 minutes, call 911.
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Understanding Your Target Heart Rate
Nearly all exercise is good. But to be sure youre getting the most fromyour workout yet staying at a level thats safe for you, you can monitorhow hard your heart is working.
Aiming for whats called a target heart rate can help you do this, says Johns Hopkins cardiologist Seth Martin, M.D., M.P.H. Think of it as the sweet spot between not exercising hard enough and overexerting.
Foods That Lower Heart Rate
Diet also seems to have an effect on your heart rate. A cross-sectional analysis of about 10,000 European men without heart disease showed that eating fish was associated with a decreased heart rate. Fish consumption was still an important factor in lowering heart rate when the study adjusted for age, physical activity, smoking, and several other factors.
Most instances of a sudden spike in heart rate come from faster-than-normal impulses from the sinus node, the hearts natural pacemaker. This situation is called sinus tachycardia. In this case, the heartbeat is fast, but normal.
The American Heart Association notes that sinus tachycardia can arise from several different conditions, including:
- some medical and street drugs
- severe emotional distress
It results less commonly from:
- heart muscle damage from heart failure or a heart attack
- severe bleeding
Doctors address sinus tachycardia by going after the cause. For example, they may prescribe psychological care for anxiety and other types of emotional distress. Physiological conditions such as anemia or thyroid problems will require medical treatment.
In some cases, its impossible to link sinus tachycardia back to a source. This type of so-called inappropriate sinus tachycardia is a difficult condition to treat. In the long run, it can cause significant medical problems.
Possible complications include:
- blood clots, which can lead to a stroke or heart attack
- heart failure
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How To Lower Your Heart Rate In The Moment
If your heart rate has seemingly spiked without cause, there are a few things you can do to bring it back down to a normal level:
- Make sure your surroundings are cool and comfortable. High temperatures and humidity can increase blood flow and heart rate.
- Emotional upset can raise your heart rate. Slow, measured breathing can help bring it back down.
- If youre going from sitting to standing, make sure to rise slowly. Standing up too quickly can bring about dizziness and cause your heart rate to increase.
Other approaches can be effective in lowering your heart rate in the short term and over time.
Practicing mindfulness can help lower your heart rate in the moment, as well as lower your overall resting heart rate. After a 12-week mindfulness course, participants in one study had lower heart rates overall and were able to physically cover more distance during a standard six-minute walk test.
If youre familiar with yoga, practicing a few poses may also help lower your heart rate. Research also suggests that practitioners of yoga can develop the ability to voluntarily lower their heart rate.
When Should One Be Concerned With Their High Heart Rate
A heart rate that is over 100 BPM at rest is clinically diagnosed as tachycardia. This is a condition in which the heart beats faster than normal due to conditions that are unrelated to physiological or emotional stress. There are three types of tachycardia: sinus, supraventricular, and ventricular. These types can result from different rhythm disorders that affect the hearts normal electrical impulses.
While tachycardia is a concern, sometimes it is also completely normal for a fast heart beat to occur. For example, it is normal for HR to rise during exercise, stress, trauma or illness.
If your heart rate is steadily increasing at rest, this is a marker of heart health worth watching.
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