It’s similar to the speed of your car when it comes to your heart rate. You want something that isn’t too fast, too slow, or too erratic. In fact, most of the time, you don’t need to think about heart rhythm or pace. And, unless something out of the usual is going, you’re likely completely unaware of what your heart is doing.
Because the heart’s function is so important, heart rate is important. The heart is responsible for circulating oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood throughout the body. When it fails to function correctly, just about everything affects it. The heart rate is important in this process because the heart’s function (called “cardiac output”) is closely connected to heart rate and stroke volume ( the amount of blood pushed out with each beat).
In this article, we will describe what a heartbeat is and the connection between heartbeat and health.
Key Facts of Heartbeat and Health:
- The heart rate is a measure of how many times the heart beats each minute
- After ten years, a person’s resting heart rate should be between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
- During exercise, the heart rate increases. There is a maximum heart rate that is recommended depending on the individual’s age.
- It is not only the heart rate that is important. The heartbeat rhythm is equally important. And an irregular heartbeat might indicate a serious health problem.
- In the United States, one out of every four fatalities is caused by heart disease. Monitoring your heart rate can help in the prevention of cardiac problems.
- According to a study, heartbeat is associated with cardiac health.
What is the heart rate?
The number of times the heart beats each minute is referred to as the heart rate.
The heart is a muscular organ that is located in the center of the chest. When it beats, the heart pumps blood containing oxygen and nutrients throughout the body and returns waste products.
A healthy heart provides the body with the right amount of blood at the appropriate rate for whatever the body is doing at the time.
For example, being frightened or surprised causes adrenaline, a hormone, to be released, causing the heart rate to increase. This prepares the body to burn more oxygen and energy in order to flee or fight a threat.
The pulse, which is sometimes confused with the heart rate, refers to how many times per minute the arteries expand and contract in response to the heart’s pumping action.
The pulse rate is exactly equal to the heartbeat because the heart’s contractions create increases in blood pressure in the arteries, leading to a noticeable pulse.
Taking one’s pulse is, therefore, a direct measure of one’s heart rate.
Normal heart rate
Scientists define a normal heart rate as 60 to 100 beats per minute. Bradycardia (“slow heart”) is defined as any heartbeat slower than 60 beats per minute. Tachycardia is defined as any heartbeat faster than 100 beats per minute (“fast heart”). Other specialists, on the other hand, feel that the optimal resting heart rate is between 50 and 70 beats per minute. But, it is important to understand that a healthy heart rate varies depending on the situation.
Here’s how to find out what your heart rate is. First, locate your pulse. The side of the neck and the front of the wrist is the most accessible areas. Then, in 30 seconds, count the number of beats. Double this number. And that’s your heart rate.
In addition to measuring your heart rate, feeling your pulse can tell you if your rhythm is regular, irregular, or combining the two.
Slow heart rate
A sluggish heart rate in healthy persons might be caused by:
- Physical fitness
- A prescription medication, such as propranolol or metoprolol
A slow heart rate, on the other hand, can be a symptom of disease, such as:
- A heart attack or other type of heart illness (such as “sick sinus syndrome”)
- Specific infections (including Lyme disease or typhoid fever)
- Potassium levels in the blood are higher (hyperkalemia)
- An underactive thyroid gland.
Fast heart rate
Healthy persons can have a fast heart rate because of:
- Physical activity, especially if intense or associated with dehydration
- Nervous or excited – while a heart rate of more than 100 is deemed “abnormal,” it is entirely normal if a tiger is charging at you.
- Taking a stimulant like coffee or cocaine.
The following diseases are associated with a fast heart rate:
- Most infections or just about any other cause of fever
- Cardiac problems, such as cardiomyopathy (in which the heart’s pumping function is impaired), atrial fibrillation, or ventricular tachycardia
- Specific medicines (such as an EpiPen)
- Low potassium levels in the blood (hypokalemia)
- An overactive thyroid gland or the use of excessive thyroid medication
- Asthma or other breathing difficulties.
Exercise and Heart Rate
Activity guidelines often recommend 20 to 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per day. But how do you know whether your particular exercise qualifies? You can use your heart rate to determine the intensity of your exercise.
Exercising vigorously will raise your heart rate to 70% to 80% of your maximum heart rate. What is your highest heart rate? Simply subtract your age from 220. As a result, the maximum heart rate for a 50-year-old is 170. Multiply that number by 0.7 to 0.8 to get a rough approximation of the 70 percent to 80 percent range. The range for this 50-year-old would be 119 to 136.
When is it necessary to be concerned about your Heartbeat and Health?
Some people are completely unaware of their heartbeat and health, whereas others are acutely aware of any minor abnormality (sometimes called a “skipped beat” or early beat, which happens in all of us). That is not a sign of trouble in the absence of symptoms. Even in healthy persons with no symptoms, we can find an abnormal rate or rhythm through a physical exam, ECG, or other tests.
The following are common signs of a slow heart rate:
- Feeling dizzy, lightheaded, fainting, or near-fainting
- A lack of ability to exercise
The following symptoms define a fast heart rate:
- Feeling dizzy, lightheaded, fainting, or near-fainting
- Palpitations, often known as a pounding or fluttering sensation in the chest
- Having a racing heart
- Breathing difficulties
- Tightness or pain in the chest.
As you can see, some of these symptoms overlap, and factors other than a heart rate problem may cause many of them. Consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your heart rate. She or he can help you in sorting things out and, if needed, recommend tests or follow-up.
Maintaining a normal heart rate
A healthy heartbeat is important for maintaining cardiac health. While exercise is important for maintaining a good heart rate, there are several other things a person may do to protect their heart health, such as:
Stress reduction. The heart rate and blood pressure can both rise as a result of stress. Deep breathing, yoga, and mindfulness training are all effective stress-reduction methods.
Avoiding tobacco. Smoking causes an increase in heart rate, which you can reduce to a normal rate by quitting.
Losing weight. Having more bodyweight means that the heart needs to work more to supply oxygen and nutrients to all body areas.
The Bottom Line
In the United States, one out of every four fatalities is caused by heart disease. One of the simplest ways to protect the heart is to maintain a regular heart rate.
Online, you can buy a variety of heart rate monitoring items, such as wearable heart rate monitors. It is important to compare the benefits and features of various brands and consult with a doctor before using these products.