Saturday, October 8, 2022

Heart health: What to know about your heart rate

What Is Your Heart Rate?
Your heart rate, or pulse, is the number of times your heart beats in a minute. Everyone’s is different, and it changes as you get older. Understanding your heart rate and what’s a healthy one for you is an important part of taking care of yourself.
Your Resting Heart Rate
This is the number of times your heart beats in a minute when you’re not active and your heart isn’t having to work hard to pump blood through your body.
A Healthy Resting Heart Rate
Most healthy adults should have a resting heart rate between 60 and 100 beats a minute. In general, the more physically fit you are, the lower your heart rate will be.
How to Check Heart Rate
You can feel your heart rate by putting your first two fingers on the inside of your wrist, the inside of your elbow, the side of your neck, or on the top of your foot. Once you find it, count how many beats you feel in 15 seconds, and multiply that number by 4.
How to Lower Heart Rate
This can be as easy as simply relaxing — sit down, have a glass of water, or just take a few deep breaths. A healthier lifestyle, including getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, eating healthier, watching your weight, and cutting down alcohol, caffeine, and smoking can help, too.
Arrhythmia: A Problem With Your Heart Rate
When your heart’s beating rhythm is off, that’s called an arrhythmia. There are four major types:
• Tachycardia: When your heart beats too fast, usually more than 100 beats a minute
• Bradycardia: When your heart beats too slowly, below 60 beats a minute (unless you’re an athlete)
• Supraventricular arrhythmia: An arrhythmia that starts in your heart’s upper chambers
• Ventricular arrhythmia: An arrhythmia that starts in your heart’s lower chambers
Causes of Arrythmia
Several things can lead to arrythmia. These include clogged or hardened arteries, high blood pressure, or issues with your heart’s valves. It also can be the result of trauma from a heart attack. It can happen as you recover from heart surgery, and if your electrolytes are out of balance. For example, if your body has too much or too little potassium.
Elevated Heart Rate (Tachycardia)
A resting heart rate higher than 100 beats per minute happens most often in kids. It’s also more common in women. The primary causes of a fast heart rate include stress, smoking, or drinking too much alcohol, coffee, or other caffeinated drinks.
Low Heart Rate (Bradycardia)
A heart rate lower than 60 beats per minute can be caused by an infection, a problem with your thyroid gland (hypothyroidism), a chemical imbalance in your blood, breathing problems while you sleep (obstructive sleep apnea), or inflammatory diseases like lupus.
It also can be caused by a problem with how your heart developed before you were born.