What Is A Normal Pulse Rate?

A person’s pulse is how many times the heart beats per minute. As the heart pumps, blood pulses through the veins. This allows people to determine heart rate by feeling the pulse. What is a normal pulse rate?

A normal resting pulse for adults and children older than ten years old is sixty to one hundred beats per minute. For children under ten, the normal resting pulse is seventy to one twenty beats per minute. A newborns normal resting pulse can be as high as one hundred sixty beats per minute.

The heart rate fluctuates with activity and stress. To measure the resting heart rate accurately, the person should be at rest for at least ten minutes prior to checking the pulse. Sitting comfortably for ten minutes is sufficient.

The index and middle fingers are used to check the pulse. The thumb should not be used to measure someone’s pulse because the movement of blood through the thumb interferes with the accurate count.

The pulse is almost always checked inside the wrist, but the pulse can also be measured at the neck, groin, behind the knee, the inside of the foot near the top, and the temple. By applying slight pressure on the inside of wrist near the thumb with the index and middle fingers, the pulse can be felt.

People who are not used to checking a pulse may need to vary their placement and pressure until they can clearly feel the pulse. Too much pressure with the fingers makes the pulse more difficult if not impossible to feel. If the pressure is too slight, the pulse cannot be felt.

The pulse is usually counted for ten seconds. The ten-second count is multiplied by six to yield the pulse rate. A person may choose to count the pulse for fifteen seconds and multiply the result by four or count the pulse for the entire minute.

If the person has been resting for at least ten minutes and the pulse rate is higher than normal, this can be a sign of infection. Dehydration and some illnesses can cause a high pulse rate. A person with a high heart rate should consult the physician.

People can have lower than average heart rates and still be healthy. Athletes often have low pulses. If the low pulse is coupled with dizziness or feeling light-headed, medical care should be sought. A resting pulse that is irregular could also signify a medical problem.


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