One of the important criteria by which you can assess the health of the heart, is the pulse. The norm by age shows how many beats should produce a heart per minute in adults and children. Self-diagnosis by measuring the pulse does not require special knowledge and special conditions. What can she tell? At what values of the pulse is it necessary to think about visiting a cardiologist?
Norm, lower and upper bar
Pulse is the oscillation of the walls of blood vessels as a result of the movement of blood ejected from the heart. Even a non-professional can understand something about the state of his “motor” by the number of heartbeats.
The pulse rate (HR) is determined by the age and sex of the person. In women, the heart beats by 7-8 beats more often in comparison with the stronger sex. Pulse changes during physical exertion and stress, depending on weight. But the average for an adult should be in the range of 60 to 80 beats per minute.
To determine whether the heart copes well with its responsibilities, it is necessary to know the pulse rate by age. Table of values will help in this.
These are average indicators that can serve only as an approximate guideline. For a more accurate diagnosis it is necessary, in addition to age, to consider many other factors.
In a critical situation, such a table is not always at hand. To check whether the heart rate has not exceeded the maximum permissible value, you can use a simple method: count the pulse, subtract from 220 the number of their years. If the result is (or more), you should immediately call the ambulance, as urgent medical care is needed.
What affects the number of heartbeats?
The number of years lived is not the only thing that determines the pulse rate. The rate of age, of course, must be considered when assessing the work of the heart. But other factors should be taken into account:
- growth. The bigger it is, the less it knocks the heart;
- heart rate measurement time. During the night's rest, the pulse slows down, and in the afternoon it becomes more frequent;
- body mass. If a person has a lot of weight, then his heart is forced to work with a large load, which leads to an increase in heart rate;
- physical exercise. During and after them, the heart of an untrained person speeds up his rhythm in order to provide the body with an increased need for oxygen;
- weather. They are able to strongly influence the heart rate and the frequency of its contractions. In the heat, the usual indicators of meteo-dependent people can increase by 3 times;
- functional factors. They can also make the heart work in an accelerated rhythm. For example, this often happens in women during menopause or menstruation.
Accompanied by increased heart rate, some diseases not associated with cardiac pathologies: diseases of the endocrine system, tumors, diseases of the respiratory system and the central nervous system.
The emotional factor greatly affects the performance of adults and young patients. Strong excitement, fear can significantly affect the pulse. The rate of age for children is given on the basis that the child will be calm when measuring heart rate. But not all babies respond indifferently to such a procedure. Crying and anxiety can give the wrong idea of whether the heart of a little person is working normally. This must be taken into account when evaluating the results of the audit.
Pulse may increase after taking a bath, intercourse, smoking and drinking alcohol. If a person is very hungry or has been in the cold for a long time, then the heart rate becomes less frequent.
How to measure the pulse?
In infants, the pulse is better measured on the temporal and carotid arteries. In older children and in adults - on the radial artery. Doctors usually measure the pulse first on one hand, then on the other hand. An ordinary person is enough to measure the heart rate on one hand.
To measure, you should prepare a watch with the stopwatch option. On the back of the hand, in the wrist area, the arteries are placed superficially, so it is easy to find them. Pulse should be measured with the pads of the index, middle and ring fingers. They press an artery with three fingers (it is located not in the center of the wrist, but laterally, opposite the thumb), then the blood pulsation is counted for 30 seconds. The result is multiplied by 2.
After the pulse is measured, the rate for age in adults will serve as a criterion for the result. If the average indicators for this category are exceeded by 20%, then we can talk about heart palpitations. Does this mean that there are irregularities in the work of the heart? Not necessary! If such symptoms as shortness of breath, pain in the heart, dizziness, decreased vision, weakness, and faintness are present along with a fast heartbeat, then it is necessary to check with a cardiologist.
How dangerous are tachycardia and bradycardia?
Bradycardia is called slowing the heart rate to 60 or less beats per minute. Functional bradycardia is common in athletes. In healthy people, it is observed during sleep. Slowing the pulse in an ordinary person can be a sign of myocardial infarction, inflammation of the heart muscle, ulcers, high intracranial pressure, poisoning. Taking certain medications also provokes a reduction in heart rate.
Tachycardia (an increase in the heart rate of an adult from 100 beats) can also be physiological (during sports, excitement, joy) and pathological (a sign of irregularities in the heart). An increase in heart rate is also observed during a hypoglycemic attack.
Symptoms of tachycardia or bradycardia, if they occur frequently and for no apparent reason, should not be ignored. They may indicate problems in the work of the heart or other organs.
Measurement of the pulse (it is carried out at the same time in the same position) will help to notice dangerous violations in the state of health in time. And in order to always be normal, you should give up bad habits, keep an active lifestyle, stay calm and take care of yourself.