About Normal Heart Rate and the Right Way to Calculate It

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About Normal Heart Rate and the Right Way to Calculate It
About Normal Heart Rate and the Right Way to Calculate It
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Normal pulse is a sign that the heart is working properly. Well, a pulse that is too weak or too fast can be caused by various things. To find out whether you have a normal pulse or not, see how in the following discussion

Pulse rate is a measure of how many times the arteries expand and contract in one minute in response to the heartbeat.

About Normal Heart Rate and the Right Way to Calculate It - Alodokter

The number of pulses is generally the same as the heart rate, because the contraction of the heart causes an increase in blood pressure and pulse rate in the arteries. Therefore, measuring the pulse is the same as measuring the heart rate.

What is the Normal Pulse Rate?

The number of pulses for each person can be different. A low pulse rate usually occurs while sleeping or resting and will increase during exercise.

The average normal human pulse is about 60–100 beats per minute. People who are used to exercising, such as athletes, usually have a lower normal heart rate of about 40 beats per minute.

However, many experts think that the standard normal pulse rate needs to be changed to 50–70 beats per minute.

This is based on recent research which states that a heart rate of more than 80 beats per minute at rest can increase the risk of having a heart attack even though this value is considered normal by today's standards.

There are several things that can cause the pulse to increase, including:

  • Physical activity
  • Anemia
  • Consumption of medicines, such as thyroid medicine, allergy medicine, and cough medicine
  • Smoking habits and consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Obesity
  • Psychological factors, such as anxiety and stress

Meanwhile, a slow pulse can be caused by various things, namely:

  • Heart disease
  • Consumption of drugs for heart disease
  • Good level of fitness, for example in athletes or those who regularly exercise
  • underactive thyroid gland or hypothyroidism

A weak pulse can also be caused by bleeding or severe dehydration leading to shock or heart problems, such as cardiac arrest and heart failure.

What Affects Pulse Rate?

Low or high pulse rate can generally be influenced by several things, namely:

1. Age

The normal pulse rate in children tends to be higher than in adults. While in the elderly, the heart rate tends to be lower and slower.

2. Air temperature

High temperature and humidity can trigger the heart to pump more blood. As a result, the pulse rate will increase by about 10 beats per minute.

3. Body position

Changing position can also increase the pulse rate even if only slightly. For example, from a sitting or lying position to a standing position, the pulse rate can rise for about 15–20 seconds. However, after a few minutes, the pulse will return to normal.

4. Emotion

When angry or emotional, the nervous system in the brain will trigger various reactions in the body and one of them is releasing the hormone adrenaline. This hormone has an impact on increasing the pulse rate and breathing faster.

5. Body size

Obesity people generally have a higher pulse rate, because the heart has to work harder to pump blood in a larger body.

6. Drug side effects

Drugs that can block the production of the hormone adrenaline, such as beta blockers, can slow the pulse. On the other hand, taking too much thyroid medication can increase the pulse rate.

Certain medical problems with the heart, such as heart rhythm disturbances or arrhythmias, can also cause the pulse to become faster or slower.

How to Calculate Normal Heart Rate

To check whether the pulse is normal or not, you can place and press the tips of your index and middle fingers on the base of your thumb on your wrist, groin, or the hollow of your neck on the side of your windpipe.

Watch the clock and count the pulse for 15 seconds. After that, multiply your pulse by 4. For example, if you have 20 pulses for 15 seconds, multiply 20 by 4 and you get 80. This means your pulse is beating 80 times per minute.

The pulse is usually checked to determine whether the heart is functioning properly or not, to detect disease, to check blood flow after an injury, and as part of a general vital sign check.

You can check yourself if you have a normal pulse by following the steps above. If the pulse is too fast or slow accompanied by symptoms of chest pain, dizziness, fainting, headache, and shortness of breath, immediately consult a doctor so that treatment steps can be taken.

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