Most of us are unaware of our heart rates. That is unless we are doing something out of the ordinary, or having an intense workout while using a heart rate monitor.
That said, it is important to maintain a normal heart rate. That means it should not be too slow, nor should it be too fast or erratic.
We need a properly functioning heart to be able to lead a normal and full life. After all, our bodies depend on the heart to circulate nutrients and oxygen in the blood to all cells of the body. Therefore, a heart that is not functioning properly will have a resounding effect on all other organs and functions.
Before looking at signs that you may not have a normal heart rate, let’s first understand what a normal heart rate is in the first place.
What Is A Normal Heart Rate?
A normal heart rate ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. If it is lower than this, then the condition is called bradycardia, also known as a slow heart. On the other hand, if it is higher than this, it is called tachycardia also referred to as a fast heart. Most experts and physicians will agree that the best resting heart rate is between 50 and 70 beats per minute.
It is important to learn how to check your heart rate by yourself. Luckily, the process is quite simple. All you need to do is find your pulse either at your wrist or the side of your neck. Then simply count how many beats your heart makes in 30 seconds. Take this figure and multiply it by two and you’ll have your heart rate.
Moreover, you can also use this method to check for any irregularities in your heart rate.
What If You Have A Slow Heart rate?
While a slow heart rate is not ideal, healthy people often experience it during sleep or when under the influence of certain types of medication.
However, a slow heart rate could also signify serious underlying health concerns such as heart disease, infection, high potassium levels in the blood known as hyperkalemia, or issues with your thyroid.
What If I Have A Fast Heart Rate?
A fast heart rate may be a sign of serious underlying issues. However, sometimes healthy people will experience a fast heartbeat during rigorous exercises, when pregnant, when nervous or excited, or when using a stimulant.
Nevertheless, a fast heart rate may signify serious health concerns. These may include diseases such as fever, anemia, asthma, an overactive thyroid, heart complications or low potassium levels in the blood also called hypokalemia.
What You Should Know About Heart Rate And Exercise
Ideally, rigorous exercise should last between 20 and 30 minutes each day. By measuring your heart rate, you can find out more about your training regimen intensity.
A rigorous training regime should increase your heart rate to between 70% and 80% of your maximum heart rate. The next question now becomes, what is your maximum heart rate?
To get your maximum heart rate, take your age and subtract it from 220. For a 30-year-old man, his maximum heart rate is 190. Next, simply take that number and multiply it by 0.7 and 0.8 to get a range. For our 30-year-old man, this would be 133 to 152.
When You Need To Be Concerned About Your Heart Rate
Most people do not keep tabs on their heart rate. However, it is important to do so in order to be aware of any changes or irregularities.
Keep in mind that if you do not have any symptoms then you may not have to worry about a slightly slower or faster heart rate. However, there are instances when a physician may discover an abnormal heart rate in a supposedly healthy individual after an ECG or other physical tests.
Some symptoms of a slow heart rate include:
- Being unable to exercise
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
Some common symptoms of a fast heart rate include
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
These symptoms can overlap and may be a result of less serious issues. Still, it is important to go for a checkup just in case.
How To Prevent Abnormal Heart Rates
The best way to prevent the risk of abnormal heart rates is to keep your heart healthy. If you have heart disease make sure to regularly monitor your heart rate and follow your physician’s treatment plan.
A few ways to prevent heart disease include:
Eating a healthy diet – eating right is the most effective way to prevent heart complications. This means consuming less sugar, less salt, and eating energy-dense plant-based foods, fruits, and vegetables. Check out some healthy foods for a healthy heart.
Maintaining a healthy body weight – simply put, being overweight will increase the chances of developing heart disease. Regular exercise and eating healthy as mentioned above will help you to maintain the right body weight.
Control your cholesterol and blood sugar levels – take your doctor’s recommendations and control your blood sugar levels as well as cholesterol levels.
Avoid smoking – smoking is never a good idea so avoid getting into the habit. On the other hand, if you are a smoker, you need the help of your doctor to quit the habit as smoking has been associated with heart disease.
Drink in moderation – alcohol is also associated with numerous health concerns including heart complications. If you are an adult older than 65, it is recommended to have one beer a day. On the other hand for adults younger than 65, it is advisable to drink no more than just two bottles of alcohol a day.
Manage your stress – stress can cause heart complications. Learn how to manage stress levels by coming up with a plan on what to do when you feel stressed, such as taking a walk.
While people experience a heart rate that is too fast or too slow due to different situations, an abnormal heart rate could be a sign of serious health issues. Left unchecked, it can even lead to death. Therefore, it is important to regularly check your heart rate and maintain a healthy lifestyle.