Should I Worry About My Fast Pulse
Q. My pulse is usually on the fast side. Does a high heart rate mean I have a problem with my heart?
A. In otherwise healthy people, a heart rate at rest should be less than100 beats per minute at rest. Heart rates that are consistently above 100, even when the person is sitting quietly, can sometimes be caused by an abnormal heart rhythm. A high heart rate can also mean the heart muscle is weakened by a virus or some other problem that forces it to beat more often to pump enough blood to the rest of the body.
Usually, though, a fast heartbeat is not due to heart disease, because a wide variety of noncardiac factors can speed the heart rate. These include fever, a low red blood cell count , an overactive thyroid, or overuse of caffeine or stimulants like some over-the-counter decongestants. The list goes on and includes anxiety and poor physical conditioning.
Many people today wear a wrist band that shows their heart rate. Or you can check your heart rate the old fashioned way by feeling the pulse in your wrist or neck. You count the number of beats over 15 seconds and multiply it times four. If your heart rate is consistently high, you should make an appointment with your doctor.
Blood Pressure Is Typically Recorded As Two Numbers And A Written As A Ratio
- Systolic: The top number in the ratio, which is also the higher of the two, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats.
- Diastolic: The bottom number in the ratio, which is also the lower of the two, measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats.
Your blood pressure rises with each heartbeat and falls when your heart relaxes between beats. While it can change from minute to minute with changes in posture, exercise, stress or sleep, it should normally be less than 120/80 mm Hg for women or men aged 20 or over.
What Is The Best Treatment For High Blood Pressure
Depending on your high blood pressure, lifestyle changes and/or medications may be helpful in maintaining a healthy and normal blood pressure. Some common lifestyle recommendations include:
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Cardiology : What Does Blood Pressure Really Mean
We have all had our blood pressure taken at a regular doctor visit however most of us dont truly understand why those numbers are so important. Having high blood pressure is a big health concern, but what does it all really mean?
What is blood pressure?
In the most basic terms, when your heart beats, it pumps blood throughout your body, supplying it with the oxygen and energy it needs. As your blood moves, it pushes against the sides of your blood vessels. The strength of this pushing is what is known as blood pressure.
When you have your blood pressure reading it consists of two numbers, presented as one number over the other, like a fraction. The first or top number is your systolic blood pressure. This is the amount of pressure in your arteries during the contraction of your heart muscle. The second or bottom number is your diastolic blood pressure. This is the lowest level your blood pressure reaches as your heart relaxes between beats. The numeric difference between your systolic and diastolic blood pressure is called your pulse pressure. For example, the pulse pressure reading for a person whose blood pressure is 120/80, would be 40. Along with blood pressure, pulse pressure can also provide insight into your heart health. In some cases a low pulse pressure may indicate poor heart function, while a higher pulse pressure may reflect leaky heart valves, often as a result of age-related losses in aortic elasticity.
What is a healthy blood pressure?
Causes Of Low Blood Pressure With High Pulse
Having low blood pressure can sometimes lead to a higher pulse.
If your blood pressure is low, your heart may have to work extra hard to deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to the organs, resulting in a high pulse.
Low blood pressure with a high pulse could indicate an underlying medical condition or lifestyle factor.
According to The American Heart Association, hypotension coupled with a high pulse can be a symptom of the following:
Some people have low blood pressure all the time.
Their pressure is lower than average but they are in good health.
For others, a sudden drop in blood pressure or a decline in blood pressure that stays low could indicate a health problem.
Our blood pressure is regulated by many systems of the body including our hormones, nerves, and organs.
Our nervous system, which triggers a fight-or-flight response in times of perceived danger, can communicate to the heart to increase or decrease blood pressure.
The following diseases and conditions can cause hypotension:
- Problems with the autonomic nervous system, such as in Parkinsons disease
- Fainting or feeling very faint
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Urgent Advice: Call 999 If:
You have sudden chest pain that:
- spreads to your arms, back, neck or jaw
- makes your chest feel tight or heavy
- also started with shortness of breath, sweating and feeling or being sick
- lasts more than 15 minutes
You could be having a heart attack. Call 999 immediately as you need immediate treatment in hospital.
How Do I Get My Heart Rate In The Target Zone
When you work out, are you doing too much or not enough? Theres a simple way to know: Your target heart rate helps you hit the bullseye so you can get max benefit from every step, swing and squat. Even if youre not a gym rat or elite athlete, knowing your heart rate can help you track your health and fitness level.
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Treatment For Low Blood Pressure
Having low blood pressure is not always an immediate cause for concern. Many people with low blood pressure are unaware that they have it. Doctors may only consider treatment for low blood pressure if it causes troubling symptoms.
People who experience temporary symptoms of low blood pressure, such as lightheadedness or increased heart rate after standing up too quickly, should sit down to rest until the symptoms subside.
People who frequently experience these symptoms must take great care when moving from a prone position to standing to avoid falling.
If a medication causes symptoms of low blood pressure, doctors may recommend switching medications or lowering a dosage. A person should only change their medication under the guidance of a doctor.
The note that some people may not need treatment for low blood pressure at all. However, for those that do, possible treatments may include:
- drinking water to avoid dehydration
- taking medications to raise the blood pressure
- changing eating habits
What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls during contraction and relaxation of the heart. Each time the heart beats, it pumps blood into the arteries, resulting in the highest blood pressure as the heart contracts. When the heart relaxes, the blood pressure falls.
Two numbers are recorded when measuring blood pressure. The higher number, or systolic pressure, refers to the pressure inside the artery when the heart contracts and pumps blood through the body. The lower number, or diastolic pressure, refers to the pressure inside the artery when the heart is at rest and is filling with blood. Both the systolic and diastolic pressures are recorded as “mm Hg” . This recording represents how high the mercury column in an old-fashioned manual blood pressure device is raised by the pressure of the blood. Today, your doctor’s office is more likely to use a simple dial for this measurement.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, directly increases the risk of heart attack, heart failure, and stroke. With high blood pressure, the arteries may have an increased resistance against the flow of blood, causing the heart to pump harder to circulate the blood.
Blood pressure is categorized as normal, elevated, or stage 1 or stage 2 high blood pressure:
Recommended Reading: National Heart Lung And Blood Institute
How Do I Know If I Have High Blood Pressure
Theres only one way to know if you have high blood pressure: Have a doctor or other health professional measure it. Measuring your blood pressure is quick and painless.
Talk with your health care team about regularly measuring your blood pressure at home, also called self-measured blood pressure monitoring.
High blood pressure is called the silent killer because it usually has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not know they have it.
Before You Measure Your Blood Pressure:
The American Heart Association recommends the following guidelines for home blood pressure monitoring:
Don’t smoke or drink coffee for 30 minutes before taking your blood pressure.
Go to the bathroom before the test.
Relax for 5 minutes before taking the measurement.
Sit with your back supported . Keep your feet on the floor uncrossed. Place your arm on a solid flat surface with the upper part of the arm at heart level. Place the middle of the cuff directly above the bend of the elbow. Check the monitor’s instruction manual for an illustration.
Take multiple readings. When you measure, take 2 to 3 readings one minute apart and record all the results.
Take your blood pressure at the same time every day, or as your healthcare provider recommends.
Record the date, time, and blood pressure reading.
Take the record with you to your next medical appointment. If your blood pressure monitor has a built-in memory, simply take the monitor with you to your next appointment.
When blood pressure reaches a systolic of 180 or higher OR diastolic of 110 or higher, seek emergency medical treatment.
Ask your doctor or another healthcare professional to teach you how to use your blood pressure monitor correctly. Have the monitor routinely checked for accuracy by taking it with you to your doctor’s office. It is also important to make sure the tubing is not twisted when you store it and keep it away from heat to prevent cracks and leaks.
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How Does Pulse Pressure Work
Your blood pressure is measured using two numbers, the systolic pressure and the diastolic pressure. The systolic pressure is the top number, and its a measurement of how much pressure your arteries are under each time your heart beats. The diastolic pressure, which is the bottom number, is how much pressure your arteries are under between heartbeats.
These pressures are measured in millimeters of mercury . This is because the first sphygmomanometers used to measure blood pressure had mercury in them. Mercury isnt used anymore in these devices, which are also usually called blood pressure cuffs, but millimeters of mercury is still used.
To calculate your pulse pressure, all you have to do is subtract the bottom number from the top number.
- Example: If your blood pressure was 120/80 mmHg, that would be 120 – 80 = 40.
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Normal Blood Pressure For Men
Men are recommended to have an average normal blood pressure of 120/80 however, as we have noted, there are varying factors to consider when determining what works for each person. What is normal for a man in his 30s is not deemed a normal reading for a man in his 60s.
The following are the average blood pressures and the corresponding lows and highs for men from ages 15 to 64 years.
What Do Heart Rate And Blood Pressure Measure
These are vital signs that give us information about how your heart and blood vessels are working. They let us know if you might need a medical intervention or medication to prevent future disease:
Heart rate measures how many times per minute your heart beats.
Blood pressure measures how strongly your heart and blood vessels pump blood to the rest of your body.
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Ask The Doctor: Does Heart Rate Affect Blood Pressure
Q. When doctors interpret a blood pressure reading, should they also consider the heart rate? I am a 78-year-old man and have had high blood pressure for more than 40 years. I frequently monitor my blood pressure at home, resting for five minutes before I take the reading. My blood pressure is often higher when my heart rate is close to its usual resting rate and lower when my heart is beating faster than that. Can the bodys demands that cause higher blood pressure be partially satisfied by a faster heart rate?
A. First, let me congratulate you on monitoring your blood pressure at home. This is a great way for you to take control of your high blood pressure, and a good step toward preventing a stroke. Knowing that your blood pressure at home is under consistent control is more important than getting isolated readings at the doctors office. You are also resting before taking the reading, and this is important to avoid spuriously high readings that happen when someone rushes around, and then sits down quickly to take a blood pressure reading.
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High Pulse Rate High Blood Pressure
A rising heart rate does not lead to the blood pressure to increase at the same given rate. Even though the heart is beating much more times, healthy blood vessels usually dilate so as to allow more blood to flow through easily.
When a person exercise, the heart speeds up so that more blood is able to reach the muscles. It might be possible for the high pulse rate to double much more safely, while the blood pressure can respond by increasing a modest amount
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Electrical Circuitry Of The Heart
The heart is normally made up of only four chambers the two upper chambers and the two lower chambers . The rhythm of the heart is controlled by a natural pacemaker which is located in the right atrium. The pace maker produces electrical impulses that start each heartbeat.
From the pace maker, the electrical impulses normally travel across the atria, leading to the atria muscles to contract and then pump blood into ventricles.
The electrical impulses arrive at a cluster of cells known as the atrioventricular node normally the only pathway that is used for signals to be able to travel from the atria directly to the ventricles.
The node usually slows down the electrical signal just before sending it again to the ventricles. This slight delay is used to allow the ventricles to fill up with enough blood. When the electrical impulses reach the ventricles muscles, they then contract, making them to pump blood either to the lungs or even to the other parts of the body.
Tips For Measuring Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is best measured in a state of comfortable rest. First, sit on a chair with your feet on the floor for five minutes. Make sure your arm is at heart level and rests on a table. Then take your pressure, being sure to use a right-sized cuff. Don’t take your pressure within 30 minutes of exercising, smoking, or eating.
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Treating High Blood Pressure
Treating high blood pressure includes lifestyle changes and prescription medication for those with readings of 140/90 or higher, according to the AHA.
The first thing we tell people to do if their blood pressure is in prehypertension range, is to lose weight, exercise more, and reduce salt in diet, Bauman said. If they reach higher levels, we then treat them with medications.
Additional reporting by Kim Ann Zimmermann, Live Science Contributor.
How Other Factors Affect Heart Rate
- Air temperature: When temperatures soar, the heart pumps a little more blood, so your pulse rate may increase, but usually no more than five to 10 beats a minute.
- Body position: Resting, sitting or standing, your pulse is usually the same. Sometimes as you stand for the first 15 to 20 seconds, your pulse may go up a little bit, but after a couple of minutes it should settle down.
- Emotions: If youre stressed, anxious or extraordinarily happy or sad your emotions can raise your pulse.
- Body size: Body size usually doesnt change pulse. If youre very obese, you might see a higher resting pulse than normal, but usually not more than 100.
- Medication use: Meds that block your adrenaline tend to slow your pulse, while too much thyroid medication or too high of a dosage will raise it.
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