What is heart rate and how is it measured?

Heart rate is the number of times the heart contracts in one minute. That the number of those beats per minute is in the range of what doctors consider an adequate heart rate is essential for the proper functioning of the heart . Otherwise, it may alert us to a problem.

But what is the heart rate that is considered “normal”? At birth, the heart rate is higher for the needs of the baby. With growth, the heart rate decreases until it reaches normal adult figures . According to experts, it ranges between 50 and 100 beats per minute at rest in adults.

In any case, the heart rate depends on several factors: the constitution, the age , if you do sports frequently or not, if you suffer from stress… For this reason, it is very variable from one person to another, and even the same person can have a very different heart rate at different times of the same day . It varies, for example, with emotions, which can increase it; or with sleep, when it decreases because so do the oxygen needs in our body.

In addition, there are several circumstances that can elevate the heart rate. However, some of them are not an alarm symptom. We can exceed 100 beats per minute when we are exercising or when we are nervous, as well as if we suffer from anemia or some thyroid pathology, situations in which exceeding 100 beats per minute is considered normal. However, if none of these circumstances occur and the heart rate is greater than 100, it is advisable to go to the specialist so that, through an electrocardiogram, he can tell us exactly what our heart rate is and if there is any alteration in the rhythm of the heart. heart or proceed to the study of other causes, among them if you suffer from anemia or some thyroid pathology, or the ingestion of stimulant substances (caffeine, theine) or other toxic substances.

How to measure it

Heart rate is measured by taking the pulse at the wrist. We must place the index and middle fingers between one and two centimeters below the crease of the wrist, between the bone that is palpated outwards and the tendon that appears on the inner side. In that position, you just have to gently press the inner part of the wrist on the side of the thumb.

By feeling the first beat, we can already calculate how many occur during 30 seconds and multiply the result by 2, which will be the basal rate. We can also count all those that occur in a minute.

Since heart rate varies with activity , we should always measure it while sitting down, at rest, and in a warm environment. It is also recommended not to have consumed caffeine or stimulants in the hours prior to the measurement.

To maintain a good basal heart rate, expert advice is to engage in regular physical activity, as regular physical activity is essential for fitness and cardiovascular fitness, maintaining a healthy weight, and improving cardiovascular risk factors. Through physical activity, the activity of the body’s sympathetic system will be regulated and the frequency of pulsations will be progressively reduced, which in the long term will benefit the heart.


by Abdullah Sam
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