How To Check Your Pulse
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How To Check Your Pulse
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You can check your heart rate by placing two fingers on your wrist or neck and measuring your pulse. Jamie Grill/Getty Images
According to John Osborne, MD, a Dallas-based cardiologist, monitoring his heart rate on a routine basis gives you a starting point for a better understanding of his cardiovascular health.
“If he knows his overall heart rate and if it’s going wrong, that can give him an alert, a warning, to say, ‘I need to look into this,'” says Osborne.
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In this way, he can check his heart rate at rest and calculate his maximum heart rate and his target heart rate during exercise.
According to the American Heart Association, the best places to check your pulse are your wrists, the inside of your elbow, the side of your neck, and your upper leg.
The wrist or neck is easiest for most people, Osborne says, but anywhere you can get a good reading is good; no place is necessarily more accurate than another.
According to Osborne, it makes sense to check your heart rate regularly, every month or so. To get the most accurate reading, he should take it several times in a row and try not to smoke, drink alcohol, or consume caffeine beforehand, as this can affect his heart rate.
Know Your Pulse
The normal resting heart rate for adults is usually 60 to 100 beats per minute, but can vary based on age, genetics, health, and fitness.
If you’re interested in monitoring your heart rate during exercise, you’ll need to use another measurement.
Exercise intensity is related to your heart rate, so tracking your heart rate can give you an idea of how hard your body is working and what’s typical for you.
You can calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. When you are moderately physically active, your target heart rate should be 64 to 76% of your maximum heart rate, and in vigorous activity, the target is between 77 and 76% of your maximum heart rate. 93%. .
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So, for example, the average heart rate of a healthy 30-year-old should stay between 121 and 144 beats per minute during moderate exercise and between 146 and 176 beats per minute during intense exercise to get the most out of your workout.
The chart below is a rough estimate of target heart rate ranges for different age groups, according to the American Heart Association. The numbers are general guidelines, so you should talk to your doctor about these numbers:
If your heart rate is higher than your target range during exercise, consider possible explanations before becoming overly concerned. Osborne says he often sees people unnecessarily worried that their heart rate is higher than the “target” range, when in fact they may be seeing the effects of starting a new exercise routine.
The limitation of these procedures, says Osborne, is that everyone’s heart is different. In reality, some 30-year-olds may be fine with a heart rate over 176 beats per minute, while others will have cramps if they hit 146 beats per minute.
Your Pulse And Your Target Heart Rate
A normal heart rate varies from person to person, and not all experts agree on what “normal” means.
“It’s very individual depending on your own muscles and genetics,” says Obsorne. “Looking at heart rate to predict, ‘Am I in the zone or not?’ Unfortunately it’s not very accurate.
For those who want to increase their endurance by reaching their anaerobic threshold, it is better to ask yourself:
To measure your personal limits, you can also take a cardiopulmonary stress test, where your doctor measures your heart and lung function while you exercise on a stationary bike or treadmill. This means that you will be connected to an EKG, a blood pressure cuff, and a mouthpiece to measure your breathing.
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Since both the heart and lungs respond to the energy demands of exercise, measuring them this way tells your doctor how well your body is working to absorb additional stress, according to Stanford Health Care.
The test is often done by professional athletes, says Osborne. “If you can move that number and improve muscle efficiency, it can mean you run faster and perform better.”
WATCH NOW: Swearing has more benefits than you think, from improving exercise to connecting with your co-workers A simple way to reduce stroke risk: Take your pulse : Vaccines that put you at risk for stroke. Just taking your pulse can help, the researchers say.
Of course, your doctor can do this. But you can too. And for stroke patients, it can be a lifesaver. iStockphoto hide title
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Of course, your doctor can do this. But you can too. And for stroke patients, it can be a lifesaver.
An irregular heartbeat, called atrial fibrillation, is one of the main causes of stroke, especially in people who have recently had a stroke. But most people can’t feel it.
Doctors test for atrial fibrillation by hooking people up to an office electrocardiograph or having them wear a Holter monitor for a day or week. There are also implantable monitors to detect atrial fibrillation, but they are not widely used.
According to German researchers, learning to measure your own pulse can be just as effective and much simpler.
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They trained 220 elderly people who had had a stroke to distinguish between a normal pulse and the abnormal flutter rhythm of atrial fibrillation.
The training was considered successful if people could measure the pulse correctly twice in a row; 196 people passed the test with a success rate of 89 percent.
To determine if the amateur measurements actually detected atrial fibrillation, the patients were also continuously monitored with an electrocardiogram. However, they did not see the EKG screen while performing the self-test.
Patients who measured their own pulse gave reliable results 89 percent of the time. They identified irregular rhythms 54 percent of the time and normal rhythms 96 percent of the time. They mistakenly thought they had atrial fibrillation only 3 percent of the time.
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False-positive results are a drawback for people who self-test, says Dr. Bernd Kallmunzer, a neurologist at Universitatsklinikum Erlangen in Germany, who led the study. They are usually advised to have an EKG test. But since only 6 people thought they had atrial fibrillation when they didn’t, “the number of unnecessary EKG recordings is expected to be quite low,” Kallmunzer said in an email.
Family members were also trained to take the patients’ pulses and did even better, identifying irregular rhythms 77 percent of the time.
“A lot of times people don’t know they have atrial fibrillation,” says Dr. Ralph Sacco, chairman of the Department of Neurology at the University of Miami. “This group is trying to propose a simpler and cheaper method that could work, where stroke patients and their carers monitor the pulse.
“There are very few downsides other than maybe added anxiety if you think something is wrong when it isn’t,” Sacco told Shots.
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He can envision a day when people will check their pulse the same way they check their blood pressure, but he notes that the test will be less useful for younger and older people who are not at risk of stroke.
People with atrial fibrillation can receive medications that significantly reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke.
Erik Kramer, DO, MPH, medically reviewed this article. Dr. Erik Kramer is a primary care physician at the University of Colorado specializing in internal medicine, diabetes, and weight management. He received his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Nevada in 2012. Dr. Kramer is a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine and is board certified.
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