We all know that having a healthy heart is a good thing, but do you know how to get there? We’ll tell you everything you need to know about your heart rate and what it all means.
Are heart rate and pulse the same thing?
Yes! Pulse is the same thing; it’s how often your heart beats in a minute. Pulse rates differ from one person to the next. When you are at rest, your pulse is lower; when you exercise, it rises (more oxygen-rich blood is needed by the body when you exercise). Knowing how to take your pulse will assist you in evaluating your workout routine.
Are heart rate apps accurate?
Apps that measure your heart rate are popular. People use them to keep track of their workouts, monitor how their fitness improves over time, and even out of pure curiosity.
If you have a medical condition that causes abnormal heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation or cardiac arrhythmia, they can also be used to monitor your health.
But can you trust them to give you an accurate reading? Most tracking applications are pretty accurate when monitoring heart rate at rest, yes—missing one or two beats per minute. However, heart rate apps are said to lose up to 20 beats per minute when monitoring exercise.
So, the general advice is not to use them as a substitute for genuine medical readings. More, as an indicator.
Are heart rate watches accurate?
The HRS conducted research and discovered that baseline heart rates ranged from 50 to 101 beats per minute (bpm). Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit wearables were tested and were found to identify baseline heart rate within five beats to 100 per cent, 100 per cent, and 94 per cent, respectively.
Interestingly, age and gender did not affect device accuracy.
Is heart rate and blood pressure related?
As you know, your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats each minute, whereas your blood pressure is the force of your blood travelling through your blood vessels. They are two different types of health metrics and indicators.
Though, heart rate and blood pressure have a location-dependent connection.
The heart rate and blood pressure do not always rise in lockstep. Your blood pressure does not increase the same as your heart rate. Healthy blood vessels dilate (become larger) to enable more blood to pass through more readily, even if your heart is pumping faster.
When you exercise, your heart beats faster, allowing more blood to get to your muscles. It’s possible that your heart rate can comfortably double while your blood pressure just rises slightly.
Can heart rate affect blood pressure?
Your heart rate and blood pressure don’t naturally rise simultaneously. Your heart rate can safely increase twice as much as the typical heart rate, while your blood pressure only rises by a small amount. Healthy blood arteries can become bigger for improved blood flow even when your heart beats faster than normal. For example, when you exercise, your heart rate rises, allowing more blood to reach your muscles.
Aside from physical activity, air temperature, emotions, body posture, body size, and medication usage may all influence your heart rate.
However, hypertension is a common clinical condition that also happens to be a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Elevated heart rate is linked to high blood pressure, a higher risk of hypertension, and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease among hypertensives.
Can it be too low?
Yes (and no).
Bradycardia is defined as a heart rate that is slower than usual. Adults’ hearts typically beat between 50 and 100 times per minute while at rest. Your heart beats less than 60 times per minute if you have bradycardia.
Bradycardia is a dangerous condition in which the heart beats too slowly and cannot pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body. If this happens, you may feel dizzy, fatigued or weak, or short of breath. Bradycardia can occur without causing any symptoms or problems.
Slow heartbeats aren’t necessarily a cause for concern. During sleep, for example, a resting heart rate of 40 to 60 beats per minute is relatively normal in certain people, especially healthy young adults and experienced athletes. So when your heart rate drops to 40, you’re either extremely fit or, more likely, better booking in with your physician for a check-up.
If bradycardia is significant, a pacemaker implanted in the heart may be required to keep the heart beating at a normal rhythm.
Can it be too high?
A heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute (tachycardia) is considered excessive in adults. When you walk quickly, run, or engage in strenuous physical activity, your heart rate normally rises.
The maximum heart rate and the target heart rate are two different things.
Before engaging in any strenuous activity, you should know your maximum heart rate and goal heart rate, which differ depending on your age. It is not healthy to exceed your maximum heart rate. Your age determines the highest heart rate you can have. As a rule, your maximal heart rate is calculated by subtracting your age from 220.
Can heart rate indicate heart attack?
In short, not really, no. During a heart attack, a person’s heart rate may accelerate or remain constant. So, a high heart rate isn’t a symptom or indicator of a heart attack.
A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is restricted or stopped. During a heart attack, a person’s heart rate varies depending on their overall health, medication use, and other medical issues.
During a heart attack, some people will notice a rise in their heart rate, while others will not. Severe chest pain, shortness of breath, and chest tightness are some of the most frequent heart attack symptoms.
Can it fluctuate?
Normally, the heart’s electrical system functions beautifully, and we are rarely aware of it. Though some people are more naturally attuned to their heart rhythms, especially at night when all else is silent and motionless. Heart rhythm disturbances do occur, and when we are aware of them, they can be worrying. How can you know if a heart attack necessitates a trip to the doctor?
Heart rhythm changes are usually harmless. Whether it’s for going up the stairs or a session of rigorous activity, our heart rate changes to our body’s requirement for energy throughout the day. These tempo alterations that occur due to physical exertion are entirely natural.
Other frequent events can also cause cardiac rhythm alterations. Mild dehydration causes the heart to beat faster, which is the body’s attempt to maintain blood flow when less is available for each beat.
Another reason to always communicate your medication and supplement regimens with your health care team is that a change in medicine, or an interaction between drugs, might cause a temporary irregular heartbeat.
While the remedy can be as easy as resting, rehydrating, or changing medicines, it’s often beyond our comprehension of why we’re experiencing a shift in our heart rhythms or whether it’s an indication of a more serious medical problem.
Will it increase after eating?
It can! Eating causes changes in blood flow, which may lead to a faster heart rate. Blood pressure might also rise as a result of eating. When you consume too much, your heart has to work harder than it should. Your heart rate will increase as more blood is sent to your digestive tract.
Will it increase during pregnancy?
Yes, it will. The woman’s heart has to work harder during pregnancy because the foetus develops, and the heart has to pump more blood to the uterus. The uterus receives one-fifth of the woman’s pre-pregnancy blood flow by the conclusion of the pregnancy.
The quantity of blood pumped by the heart (cardiac output) rises by 30 to 50 per cent during pregnancy. The heart rate at rest rises from a typical pre-pregnancy rate of about 70 beats per minute to as high as 90 beats per minute as cardiac output rises.
Will it go up when sick?
You may have noticed that when you are sick – a common sickness like a cold or the flu — your heart beats a bit quicker than usual. Perhaps you were a little anxious at the time. “Why is my heart racing so fast?” you may have wondered. “Should I see a doctor about it?” or “Should I contact a doctor about it?”
When you’re unwell, it’s quite natural to have a faster heart rate. Most of the time, it’s nothing to be concerned about. When you get ill, your body temperature rises, which causes your heart to beat quicker.
When a person’s physical needs for additional blood grow, the heart rate usually rises first to satisfy those demands.
Dehydration is another major cause of an elevated heart rate. When your body is dehydrated, the amount of blood and plasma in your body reduces. This causes your heart to beat quicker to deliver the lower quantity of oxygenated blood to the organs and tissues that need it.
Will heart rate increase after quitting smoking?
After quitting smoking, heart rate variability (HRV) is reported to increase. In reality, smoking causes a lot of dry mouth. As you adjust, the stress and anxiety associated with withdrawal do calm down, and so does your heart.
Actually, your heart rate reduces 20 minutes after you stop smoking. Cigarettes cause your blood pressure to rise and your heart rate to speed up. Within 20 minutes of your last smoke, your heart rate will begin to return to normal.
How heart rate is regulated
Are you ready for some science?
The autonomic (involuntary) nervous system has two branches influencing heart rate. The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS)
To speed up the heart rate, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) produces hormones (catecholamines – epinephrine and norepinephrine).
Acetylcholine is a hormone produced by the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) to reduce heart rate.
Stress, coffee, and excitement may momentarily speed it up, whilst meditation or taking calm, deep breaths can assist in bringing it down.
A reduction is caused by an increase in parasympathetic nervous system activity and perhaps a decrease in sympathetic nervous system activity.
How heart rate increases during exercise
Exercising for any length of time raises your heart rate, which will stay raised for as long as you continue to exercise. Your body eliminates the parasympathetic stimulus (mentioned above) at the start of exercise, allowing your heart rate to gradually climb.
The sympathetic system “kicks in” when you workout more vigorously, speeding up your heart rate even more. Regular aerobic activity over a long period may reduce your resting heart rate by increasing the size, contractile strength, and time it takes for the heart to fill with blood.
How a heart rate monitor works
Heart rate monitors measure the electrical impulses from your heart.
Monitors measure the electrical signals from your heart. They’re sent to a data centre or a wristwatch. Many models enable you to examine data on a computer, which helps you evaluate your workout and decipher the benefits of your training.
How heart rate is measured
If you’re not using a device, there’s a manual way to measure your heart rate.
Take your pulse to determine your heart rate. On the side of your neck, place your index and third fingers.
Or, place two fingers between the bone and the tendon above the artery on the thumb side of your wrist.
When you feel your pulse, count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by four to find your beats per minute.
How heart rate sensor works
On a smartwatch, a sensor close to the light illuminates your capillaries with an LED, which monitors the frequency at which your blood rushes past (aka your heart rate). You’ll get a BPM (beats per minute) readout in seconds.
Check out: How Blood Pressure and Heart Monitor Smartwatch Sensors Work
How heart rate is calculated from ECG
Although heart rate can be readily measured by measuring your pulse, studies demonstrate that an ECG (electrocardiogram) are better able to identify whether the heart has been damaged, the effectiveness of a device or treatment, whether it’s beating regularly, or the position and size of the heart chambers.
On the likes of an Apple Watch, an electrocardiogram (ECG, or also EKG) is a test that measures the intensity and timing of electrical impulses that cause the heart to beat. A doctor can learn about your heart rhythm and search for anomalies by looking at an ECG.
Hopefully, that’s helped you to understand your inner ticker! Let us know in the comments what else you’d like to know.
Follow us on social media to stay up to date with our latest articles
Last Updated on March 17, 2022
Maygen is a multifaceted writer, proofreader, and experienced smartwatch industry writing and editing professional.
We appreciate her work, contribution to our blog, marketing skills, editing, and expert writing abilities which are second to none.
Truly adept in content strategy and content creation which has immense contribution to our blog.