Fast facts on heart and pulse rate

Here are some key points about heart and pulse rate. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.

  • Heart rate is the number of times per minute that the heart beats.

  • Heart rate rises significantly in response to adrenaline if a person is frightened or surprised.

  • Taking a person’s pulse is a direct measure of heart rate.

  • Pulse can be measured by pressing two fingers lightly on the wrist.

  • A fainter pulse can be felt behind the knees, in the groin, at the temples of the head and on top of the inner side of the foot.

  • A normal adult resting heart beat is between 60-100 heartbeats per minute.

  • Some experienced athletes may see their resting heartrate fall below 60 beats per minute.

  • Tachycardiarefers to the heart beating too fast at rest – over 100 beats per minute.

  • Bradycardia refers to the heart beating too slow – usually below 60 beats per minute.

  • According to the American Heart Association, heart rate during exercise is around 220 minus the person’s age.

 

Facts about Blood pressure

Blood pressure is typically recorded as two numbers, written as a ratio like this:

1.Systolic

The top number, which is also the higher of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (when the heart muscle contracts).

2.Diastolic

The bottom number, which is also the lower of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats (when the heart muscle is resting between beats and refilling with blood).

 

Blood Pressure
Category
Systolic
mm Hg (upper #)
Diastolic
mm Hg (lower #)
Normal less than 120 and less than 80
Prehypertension 120 – 139 or 80 – 89
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 1
140 – 159 or 90 – 99
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 2
160 or higher or 100 or higher
Hypertensive Crisis
(Emergency care needed)
Higher than 180 or Higher than 110

 

Normal Blood Sugars

  • A normal fasting (no food for eight hours) blood sugar level is between 70 and 99 mg/dL

  • A normal blood sugar level two hours after eating is less than 140 mg/dL

Diabetes is diagnosed by any one of the following:

  1. Two consecutive fasting blood glucose tests that are equal to or greater than 126 mg/dL

  2. Any random blood glucose that is greater than 200 mg/dL

  3. An A1c test that is equal to or greater than 6.5 percent. A1c is an easy blood test that gives a three month average of blood sugars

  4. A two-hour oral glucose tolerance test with any value over 200 mg/dL

Sometimes you may have symptoms of fatigue, excessive urination or thirst, or unplanned weight loss. However, often people have no symptoms of high blood glucose and find a diabetes diagnosis surprising.

 

Pre-diabetes

My doctor says I have pre-diabetes. What is that?

  • You are at high risk of developing diabetes. You can prevent or delay diabetes by increasing physical activity, eating healthful foods, and maintaining or losing weight

  • Pre-diabetes is also called impaired fasting glucose (IFG)

Pre-diabetes is diagnosed by any one of the following:

  • A fasting blood glucose in between 100-125 mg/dL

  • An A1c between 5.7 – 6.4 percent

  • Any value between 140 mg/dL and 199 mg/dL during a two-hour 75g oral glucose tolerance test