Heart rate

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The heart rate of a person, also known as a pulse, means the number of beats per minute. The frequency of the heartbeat can vary widely, it all depends on what requirements we impose on our body. For example, during sleep a person will have a much lower heart rate compared to the period of training.

There is some technical difference between the heart rate and the pulse, despite the fact that they have the same meaning.

The heart rate is the number of cardiac contractions per unit of time, which is almost always determined per minute. This is the number of contractions of the lower parts of the heart (ventricles). Pulse (pulse rate) is when blood is thrown out by the heart beat in the artery and expands it. The frequency of the extensions can be measured by touch either on the wrist or on the neck.

According to Medilexicon medical dictionary, heart contruction is a "complete heart cycle, including the propagation of electrical impulse and subsequent mechanical contraction."

Pulse is a "rhythmic expansion of the artery, produced by an increased volume of blood discharged into the vessel through the contraction of the heart. Also, the pulse can sometimes appear in veins or vascular organs, such as the liver. "

Doctors and other health professionals measure the heart rate of patients when they analyze heart function, determining the effectiveness of certain treatments or establishing a diagnosis. Athletes and ordinary people doing sports usually measure the heart rate in order to get the maximum efficiency of training regimes.

What is the normal heart rate (pulse rate)?

In a person aged 18 years and over, the normal heart rate at rest can range from 60 to 90 beats per minute. Usually the healthier the person is, the lower this frequency is. And professional athletes can have a heart rate of at least 40 beats per minute at rest.

Cyclist champion Lance Armstrong has a heart rate at rest of about 32 beats per minute (bpm).

According to the UK Public Health Service, the following figures are ideal heart rate (in bpm):

  • Newborn baby - 120-160
  • A child aged 1-12 months - 80-140
  • Child aged 1-2 years - 80-130
  • Child aged 2-6 years - 75-120
  • Child aged 7-12 years - 75-100
  • Adult at the age of 18 and over - 60-100
  • The adult athlete - 40-60

(There is a significant overlap in frequencies between the ages of 14 and 17 in children, depending on the data of various health authorities).

How to determine your own heart rate

Wrist (radial artery). Put your hand palm up. Attach two fingers to the wrist at the base of the thumb; here you will feel impulse beats. Count them either a minute or thirty seconds, and then multiply them by two. Measuring for 15 seconds and then multiplying by four is a less accurate way. In addition, the pulse can be felt on the other side of the wrist, where the ulnar artery is located.

Neck (carotid artery). Attach the index and middle fingers to the neck, next to the throat. When you feel the pulse, count either all 60 seconds, or 30 or 15, and in this case multiply by two or four, accordingly.

In addition, the heart rate of a person can be measured in the following areas:

  • Shoulder artery - under the biceps or inside the elbow
  • Abdominal aorta - above abdomen
  • The tip of the heart - put your hand or fingers on your chest
  • Basilar artery - on the side of the head, near the ear
  • Dorsal artery - the middle or back of the foot
  • Superficial temporal artery - temple
  • Facial artery - lateral margin of lower jaw
  • Femoral artery - groin
  • Posterior tibial artery - behind medial ankle

Electrocardiogram, (ECG), is a more accurate means for analyzing a patient's heartbeats. ECG is often used in intensive care and many other areas of medicine.

The heart rate depends on several factors, such as:

  • The level of physical activity during the measurement
  • Level of physical training
  • The position of the body (standing, sitting, lying, etc.)
  • Mental and / or emotional state (agitation, anger, fear, excitement and other factors that can increase the heart rate)
  • Body dimensions
  • Some drugs

What is the maximum heart rate?

This is the maximum number of beats per minute that the heart can perform. This indicator is useful for sports people, because in this way they can estimate the training intensity.

There are two ways to determine the maximum heart rate:

  • Clinical definition is usually carried out by a cardiologist or sports physiologist. People older than 35 years who are overweight or did not go in for sports for a long period, are recommended to measure clinically the maximum heart rate in an experienced doctor. For this purpose, the doctor can use a treadmill and an electrocardiograph.
  • Calculation definition. A mathematical formula, standardized by age, is used here.

For men: 220 minus the age. For a 25-year-old man, this will be 195 beats per minute (220 minus 25)

For women: 226 minus the age. For a 25-year-old woman, this will be 201 beats per minute (226 minus 25)

However, it must be remembered that this formula gives an approximate number. Ideally, the maximum heart rate should be measured clinically.