One of the best ways to gauge your heart health is to monitor your heart rate. A normal resting heart rate ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute, with the ideal range being 50-70 beats per minute. Knowing your average heart rate and tracking changes in its rate and regularity can help you monitor your fitness level and may even help you notice developing heart conditions or other health problems.
To check your resting pulse, or heart rate, simply place your finger over the inside of your wrist, the inside of your elbow, the side of your neck or the top of your foot and count the number of times your heart beats in 60 seconds. Heart rates closer to 60 tend to indicate a healthier or more efficient heart for people in good health. Factors that can affect heart rate include body temperature, level of hydration, breathing patterns, body chemical and hormone levels, the presence or absence of heart disease and certain medications, like beta blockers. Stress and anxiety can also affect your heart rate.
In addition to taking your heart rate, be sure to watch for irregular patterns, or heart palpitations. A heart palpitation can feel like your heart is skipping a beat, speeding up, fluttering or pounding in your chest. Most heart palpitations are benign, and are normal occurrences in life. They can be caused by several different factors ranging from alcohol and caffeine use to exercise, stress, dehydration, smoking and more.
While there's a wide range of resting heart rates considered normal, an abnormally high or low heart rate might point to underlying heart rhythm problems. Talk to your healthcare provider if your resting heart rate is consistently above 100 beats per minute, a condition called tachycardia. You should also contact your healthcare provider if you're experiencing an inconsistent heart rate, or if you're not a conditioned athlete and your resting heart rate is consistently below 60 beats per minute, a condition called bradycardia.
You can also keep your heart healthy by getting regular physical exercise. Check with your healthcare provider before beginning any new fitness regime.
Speak to your provider if you're experiencing other symptoms like dizziness, fainting or shortness of breath. Finally, contact your provider if you experience frequent episodes of unexplained fast heart rates, especially if they cause you to feel weak, dizzy or faint.
Reach out to a primary healthcare provider at Goshen Health to learn more about maintaining a healthy heart.
Posted: 8/22/2016 by
Filed under: Heart and Vascular