Measuring the heart rate is important, especially when a person gets old, and the early morning hours are the best time to measure the pulse, as the human body is at this time more comfortable and relaxed. It is worth noting that the pulse can be found in different places of the body due to the blood flow in the arteries and their expansion every time the heart beats, as there are many ways to measure the heartbeat by hand, which we will mention in this article.
According to medical studies, the normal rate of heart rate at rest ranges between 70 to 100 beats per minute and decreases with age, and it is recommended to measure the pulse on several consecutive days at the same times in order to ensure the correct regularity and counting.
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The location of the heart and its mechanism of action
The myocardium is located in the rib cage behind the sternum to the left side. It is about 1.5 times the size of a fist. Inside it there are two cavities, the atria and the ventricles, which connect to the heart valve .
This muscle is a pump that works to pump oxygenated blood in every contraction to all parts of the body, and the heart has four valves inside its cavity. The closure of these valves prevents the blood from flowing in the wrong direction.
Normal heart rate values
The normal heart rate values depend on many factors, including:
And that is through the radial pulse, when conducting the tests, if the radial pulse does not appear on one side, this indicates a decrease in blood pressure, but if it appears on one side only, it indicates pressure of the artery or the occurrence of bleeding on the side.
The normal heart rate varies from person to person with age.
- A newborn baby ranges from 100 to 160 beats per minute.
- Babies from one to two years of age range from 90 to 150 beats per minute.
- Children from 3 years to 5 years from 70 to 120 beats per minute.
- An adult from 80 to 70 strokes per minute.
- The elderly person from 70 to 65 strokes per minute.
- As for people who exercise, the maximum heart rate reached during exercise is 220, and the person’s age is subtracted from this number, for example: (220 – 30 years = 190 beats per minute).
These rates are not constant throughout the day, as there are factors that change them, such as a change in temperature and digestive processes that also lead to an increase in the heartbeat.
Causes of a slow heart rate
When a person’s pulse is less than 65 beats per minute, this indicates a slowdown in the normal rate of pulse and this causes health problems for the body, because the inability of the heart to pump the appropriate amount of oxygen-supplied blood leads to a decrease in the body’s oxygenation, thus affecting the work of the rest of the organs. Also slowing down the pulse by feeling dizzy and sometimes leading to fainting, there are several reasons for that, including:
- Disorders of the sinoatrial node, as this node regulates the heartbeat.
- Age causes damage to heart tissue.
- Heart disease or heart attacks also lead to tissue damage that is treated either by medication or by installing a pacemaker.
- Congenital heart defects present from the time of birth, as there are people who are born with a hole in the heart.
- Inflammation of the heart or other inflammatory diseases such as lupus.
- Malfunction of the thyroid gland.
- An imbalance of electrolytes, which are minerals and salts in blood, tissues and body fluids.
- Taking medications used to treat blood pressure and regulate the heartbeat.
Causes of an increased heartbeat
- Presence of birth defects.
- Excessive intake of caffeine and nicotine.
- Weather also affects the heartbeat, as the heart rate increases slightly at high temperatures.
- The size and height of a person.People who suffer from obesity have a rapid heart rate, especially when doing simple physical exercises.
- Drinking alcohol.
- High cholesterol.
- Many heart diseases, such as: blocked heart valves and other diseases that cause a lack of blood supply.
- Malignant tumors.
- Hyperthyroidism, which occurs as a result of the gland producing a large amount of the hormone thyroxine, which leads to many diseases, including: rapid weight loss and an irregular heartbeat.
In general, a high or low pulse rate is sometimes a sign of the presence of many health problems, so it is advised to consult a specialist when feeling this and take the necessary checks and there are also some healthy habits that can be followed to maintain heart health, including:
- Eat healthy foods, eat more vegetables, and avoid foods that lead to high cholesterol.
- Do regular exercise and get rid of obesity.
- Avoid smoking and alcoholic beverages.
- Stay away from tension and matters that increase psychological stress.
How to measure heart rate by hand
Many people take a heartbeat at home, as this is easy and there are several steps to follow when taking a pulse at home:
- Find the location of the pulse, whether on the hand, neck or foot.
- Gently press with the tip of the index and middle finger on the radial artery located at the wrist and count the heartbeat for a full minute or count for 15 seconds, and then multiply the number by 4 to get the total number in one minute.
- Not using the thumb, because it has its own pulse and thus affects the counting of the heartbeat.
- Counting the pulse he feels for a minute or a minute and a half.
- Putting the index and middle fingers and applying gentle pressure to the neck at the windpipe, counting the pulse within 15 seconds, and multiplying the result by four to find out the number of beats per minute.
- Measuring the pulse through the foot, as there are two pulse locations in the foot, the first in the upper region and the second behind the ankle bone.
- Avoid taking your pulse after exercising because the pulse increases for a period of time after strenuous exercise.
- Avoid measuring your heartbeat after consuming coffee or other caffeinated beverages because it causes the heart to beat more and thus affects the normal heart rate.
Measuring the pulse with devices
There are several types of devices used in measuring heart rate that are considered inaccurate, including:
- Electrocardiogram: When the heart muscle contracts to pump blood to the body, this contraction is secondary to the depolarization of the cell membranes that are found by the electrodes in the skin.
- Stethoscope: It is considered a reliable method that it does not allow monitoring and tracking of the pulse over time.
- Pulse oximeter: This device measures a pulse by measuring the change in light waves as they pass through the skin, according to the rate of oxygenation in each pulse.
- Holter device : It is a small device that records the heartbeat by delivering it to the body for a period of 24 hours, and the use of this device requires going to the hospital until the specialist doctor removes the recording device from the Holter.
- By inserting a thin catheter into the artery: equipped with a pressure sensor, as the difference in pressure periodically allows the heart rate to be calculated.
- There are also programs in smart devices that measure the heart rate by placing the index finger on the camera lens and through the color changes that occur, it can record the heartbeat.
- Sports devices: where there are many devices that contain pulse sensors, such as a treadmill.