Pulse Rate

The pulse rate is basically a person’s heart rate as it is felt in various places throughout the body. Basically there are 6 areas around the body where the pulse rate can be measured – behind the knees, on the neck, in the groin, the wrist, the temples at the side of the head and the top or inner side of the foot.

These are all areas where an artery presses against a bone close to the surface of the skin and as such can be easily felt through the skin as the heart pumps blood through these arteries; so the pulse rate is simply the heart rate as it pumps blood through these arteries. As the pulse rate is the same as the heart rate, a doctor can determine your pulse rate by using a stethoscope to listen to and count your heartbeats per minute.

In a normal adult the pulse rate while resting is between 60 and 100 beats per minute; to find your resting pulse rate it is best to check it the minute you wake up and before you get out of bed but if this is not possible, you can get a fairly accurate idea of your resting pulse rate if you take it about 10 minutes after sitting down. After strenuous exercise the pulse rate may be between 150-200 beats per minute.

In infants and small children the pulse rate is much higher than that of adults; in fact it is not abnormal for a child’s resting pulse rate to be the same as an adult’s pulse rate after he/she has been engaged in strenuous exercise. In athletes however, the resting pulse rate is typically lower than it is for a healthy adult who does little exercise.

If a person’s pulse rate is consistently high in a resting phase it may be signs of an underlying health problem so if you notice this bring it to the attention of your health care provider. If you do not know how to take your pulse on your own, here are a few tips to help you do it. You can check any of the pulses you prefer but typically the one on your wrist is easier to test.

Take the index, middle and ring fingers of your left hand and place it on the wrist of your right hand with the palm of your right hand facing up; your pulse is right below the base of your thumb on the upper side of your wrist, not on the side of your wrist below your little finger.

If you are not sure where your pulse is you can ask your health care provider or find a diagram that will show you where it is. It is not very hard to find however, so you can simply use your fingertips to search around for it for a little while until you locate it. Being familiar with your normal pulse rate will help you pick up on any abnormalities if they occur.

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