The Significance of Having a Healthy Heart Rate


Any layperson can get the heart rate easily but rarely does one knows the importance of a normal heart rate. The pulse or heart rate reflects the state of the heart. A healthy heart rate would mean that the heart is in good condition. 

 Healthy Heart Rate In A Resting State

Every time the ventricles contract within the span of a minute, the pulse that can be felt is the registered heart rate. The usual norm is to take the heart rate after any rigorous activity. However, the most crucial point to take the pulse is in a resting state. When the heart is relaxed, the heart rate is expected to be low. The healthy heart rate in a resting state is 60 to 100 beats per minute. 

Tachycardia

Tachycardia is a heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute. Drinks that contain caffeine can increase the heart rate. Nicotine in cigarettes has also been known to increase the heart rate. A warm environment can increase the heart rate but the value is negligible (around 5 to 10 beats per minute increase). 

Tachycardia may also reveal a deeper underlying problem. Atherosclerosis, a condition wherein a plaque, made up of lipids and cholesterol, block the arteries may increase the heart rate. The presence of any obstacles in the arteries such as fats or blood (also known as thrombosis), prompts the heart to pump harder. The increased ventricular contraction is proportional to an increase in heart rate. 

Arteriosclerosis

Arteriosclerosis, a condition where the blood vessel is hardened, can also increase the heart rate. Arteriosclerosis is a result of aging; consequently, the elderly are expected to have a higher heart rate. In cases where the heart rate is low, the condition is called bradycardia. Anti-hypertensive medications such as beta blockers can decrease the heart rate. Athletes have a lower heart rate, around 40 beats per minute, but it is considered as a healthy heart rate. In fact, an athlete’s heart is more efficient than normal. With just a few contractions of the ventricles, the whole body is sufficiently supplied with oxygen. 

Annual ECG

A Healthy heart rate is not only measured through feeling the pulse. A more accurate reading of the heart is with the use of an ECG (electrocardiogram). Electrodes are attached to certain points of the chest to read the electrical activity of the heart. Annual ECG is recommended for 30-year-olds and above. Aside from bradycardia and tachycardia, the ECG can also record irregular heart rhythms. The irregularities cannot be felt through pulse, so an ECG must be used to detect any abnormalities. Arrhythmias, or irregular heart rhythms, may occur together or separately with bradycardia or tachycardia. However, most life-threatening arrhythmias are usually accompanied with either tachycardia or bradycardia. 

Following the lifestyle of an athlete is the best way of keeping a healthy heart rate. The diet must have minimal cholesterol and exercise must be part of the daily regimen. Slow or fast heart rates may represent minimal or serious problems. Knowing the heart rate can be considered as the primary diagnosis of a layperson against serious heart conditions. To be able to detect the problem or condition in its early stages will significantly reduce the mortality rate. 


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