ONE of the most important organs in the body is the heart. It pumps blood to every cell, tissue and other organs, including its own muscles. From the moment it begins to beat in the foetus while still in womb, it continues to do so life, even if the person lives as long as Methuselah.
In a normal situation the heart beats rhythmically at a regular pace, except when the pace increases either of quickened bodily activity or fright as sometimes happens when a sleeping person experiences a scary, where he appears to be chased. When the person suddenly breaks out of the dream and becomes conscious, he can feel the heart beating fast. The rhythmic beating of the heart is called heart rate, and is defined as “the speed of the heartbeat measured by the number of contractions of the heart per minute (bpm),” says Dr. Lambo Igwe, a general practitioner and medical director of Edozie Clinic, Owerri, Imo State.
As Webmd.com explains, the heart rate can vary according to the body’s physical needs, including the need to absorb oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide. It is usually equal or close to the pulse measured at any peripheral point of the arterial vascular network, for instance in the forearm or the neck. Activities that can provoke change include physical exercise, sleep, anxiety, stress, illness, and ingestion of drugs.
The heart rate may be normal or abnormal depending on specific conditions. It is widely accepted that the normal resting adult human heart rate ranges from 60–100 BPM (beats per minute). But when the heart beats at a sustained fast rate, the person is said to be having tachycardia, which simply means fast heart rate, defined as above 100 bpm at rest. On the other hand, a slow heart rate is referred to as bradycardia, which is a condition where the resting heart rate is below 60 bpm. Several studies and the consensus of several experts indicate that the normal resting adult heart rate is probably closer to a range between 50 and 90 BPM. During sleep a slow heartbeat with rates around 40–50 BPM is common and is considered normal.
When the heart is not beating in a regular pattern, this is referred to as an arrhythmia. Abnormalities of heart rate sometimes indicate a disease condition that needs to be properly diagnosed and treated urgently, to avoid life threatening medical emergency. Below are a series of questions and answers to enlighten you on the heart rate, what means for your health and what steps to take to improve your health. Please read on…
What is a normal heart rate?
A normal resting heart rate for adults, ranges from 60 to 100 beats a minute. Generally, a lower heart rate at rest implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness. For example, a well-trained athlete might have a normal resting heart rate closer to 40 beats a minute.
What should be my pulse rate?
Taking a person’s pulse is a direct measure of heart rate. A normal adult resting heart beat is between 60-100 heartbeats per minute. Some experienced athletes may see their resting heartrate fall below 60 beats per minute. Tachycardia refers to the heart beating too fast at rest – over 100 beats per minute.
What is the best heart rate?
For adults 18 years and older, a normal resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute (BPM), depending on the person’s physical condition and age. For children, ages 6 to 15, the normal resting heart rate is between 70 and 100 BPM, according to the American Heart Association.
Is the heart rate and pulse the same thing?
The heart is a muscular pump that with each heart beat pumps blood around the body. On leaving the heart the blood first travels along the arteries. The pulse is what you feel over an artery as the pressure inside increases following each heartbeat. The average pulse rate is between 60-80 beats per minute.
Is a heart rate of 80 good?
What is normal depends on your age and activity level, but generally a resting heart rate of 60-80 beats per minute (BPM) is considered to be in the normal range. If you are an athlete, a normal resting heart rate can be as low as 40 BPM.
What does it mean when your pulse is low?
A heart rate of less than 60 beats per minute (BPM) in adults is called bradycardia. What may be considered too slow for you may depend on your age and physical condition. Physically active adults (and athletes) often have a resting heart rate slower than 60 BPM but it doesn’t cause problems and is normal for them.
How do you find your resting heart rate?
Resting pulse should be measured first thing in the morning with your fingers and a stopwatch. Place the tip of your middle and index fingers on the radial artery on your wrist or your carotid artery in your neck. Once you find your pulse, count how many beats occur in 20 seconds, and multiply this number by 3.
How do you lower your resting heart rate?
By doing these four things you can slow your resting heart rate and also help maintain a healthy heart:
1. Exercise more. When you take a brisk walk, swim, or ride a bicycle, your heart beats faster during the activity and for a short time afterward;
2. Reduce stress;
3. Avoid tobacco products;
4. Lose weight if necessary.
What does it mean to have a low heart rate and high blood pressure?
This is caused by conditions that can slow down electrical impulses through the heart. Examples include having a low thyroid level (hypothyroidism) or an electrolyte imbalance, such as too much potassium in the blood. Other causes include some medicines for treating heart problems or high blood pressure, such as beta-blockers, anti-arrhythmics, and digoxin.
What does low BP and high pulse mean?
There are 36 conditions that are associated with low blood pressure and rapid heart rate (pulse). Some of them are dehydration (in children) and panic attack.
Are blood pressure and heart rate related?
A rising heart rate does not cause your blood pressure to increase at the same rate. Even though your heart is beating more times a minute, healthy blood vessels dilate (get larger) to allow more blood to flow through more easily. When you exercise, your heart speeds up so more blood can reach your muscles.
What is the difference between blood pressure and heart rate?
If your blood pressure is 120/80, then your pulse pressure is 40 — the difference between 120 mm Hg and 80 mm Hg. If systolic pressure increases — even if the diastolic pressure stays the same — your pulse pressure will increase, which seems to be an indicator of cardiovascular disease in some patients.
What is a dangerously low heart rate?
Bradycardia is a condition wherein an individual has a slow heart rate, typically defined as a heart rate of under 60 beats per minute (BPM) in adults. Bradycardia typically does not cause symptoms until the rate drops below 50 BPM.
What are the causes of tachycardia?
Common causes of tachycardia include: heart-related conditions such as high blood pressure (hypertension), poor blood supply to the heart muscle due to coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis), heart valve disease, heart failure, heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy), tumors, or infections.
Is tachycardia serious?
Tachycardia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments. Tachycardia refers to a fast resting heart rate – usually at least 100 beats per minute. Tachycardia can be dangerous, depending on its underlying cause and on how hard the heart has to work. … Some patients with tachycardia may have no symptoms or complications.
Is sinus bradycardia dangerous?
It is also common (and normal) for many people to have heart rates in this range while sleeping. However, if the heart rate is too slow to meet the body’s needs, symptoms can develop. Usually, sinus bradycardia is not considered to be a serious problem unless it is producing one or more of these symptoms.
What are the symptoms of bradycardia?
As a result, you may experience these bradycardia symptoms:
•Near-fainting or fainting (syncope)
•Shortness of breath.
•Confusion or memory problems.
•Easily tiring during physical activity.
What is your heart rate when you sleep?
A normal heart rate is between 60-100 beats per minute at rest (sitting, relaxing, etc.). It is well-known that the average resting heart rate for well-trained athletes is 40-60 beats per minute! However, this rate can change dramatically while sleeping or with daily activity and exercise.