Do you know that your heart rate can tell a lot about your health? Read this article to find out if your resting heart rate is normal for your age.
Your resting heart rate is an indicator of your overall health. Why so? When it is too low or too high, that means there are health problems with the heart. That is why measuring the resting heart rate is the easiest way to troubleshoot your body and take timely action.
Quick Facts About the Heart Rate
- Throughout life, a human's resting heart rate changes from faster to slower. Newborns have the fastest BPM rates.
- The resting heart rate is very different from the exercise rate, and they have both different norms and ways of calculation.
- In the United States, one in every four deaths happens as a result of heart disease, so watching your heart rates is crucial.
- The rhythm of the heartbeat is just as important as the number of beats per minute.
How to Measure Your Heart Rate
Hesitant to measure your heart rate? It’s incredibly easy if you know where to search. Some places to find pulse are the side of your neck, wrists, top of the foot, and inside of the elbow. The wrist and the neck area are the most popular and easy to find.
Here is a simple how-to:
- On your neck, press your fingers to the side of the windpipe.
- On your wrist, find the area below the base of the thumb and press it with your index and middle fingers.
- Once you feel a gentle thumping sensation, you’ve found your pulse. Keep your fingers on the same spot.
- Do not move or talk while measuring your pulse.
- Set a timer for a minute and count the beats. Alternatively, count your pulse for thirty seconds and then multiply by two.
- If you have a fitness tracker, you may also use it to measure your resting heart rate.
Remember that you shouldn't measure your pulse if you have exercised recently. Physical activity increases heart rate, and that is normal. Still, healthy exercise heart rate is very different from the resting rate.
So, Is My Heart Rate Normal?
According to the American Heart Association, the normal heart rate for adults is between 60 and 100 BPM. Still, it is not true for everyone. For example, fit athletes may have an unusually slow resting heart rate up to 40 BPM. The variations don't stop at this: it’s also common for children to have a higher resting heart rate than adults. For each person, the resting heart rate will also differ due to genetics and lifestyle. Read on to understand your heart rate and see what experts consider healthy.
Differences Between Men and Women
Even though there are set norms of resting heart rate for adults, both sexes may have different figures. Research says that up to 55 years, women have higher BPM measurements than men. The difference may root in quantities in testosterone and other sex hormones, which make men have a lower resting heart rate. Men and women also have different heart and body size, which also affects the resting heart rate.
Children’s Norm is Higher Than Adults’
You can keep track of the child's health by measuring the resting heart rate. Still, don’t get surprised if it's higher than the average. Children have a higher metabolism, so their resting heart rate is higher. A director of Women’s Heart Care, Purvi Parwani, MD says that a newborn may have a resting heart rate of 100 to 150 bpm.
Still, for different ages, the resting heart rate will be different, as it highly depends on the age and activity level throughout the day. Experts state that until ten years old, resting heart rate changes quite frequently:
|Age||Average resting heart rate|
|< 1 month||70 to 190 bpm|
|1 to 11 months||80 to 160 bpm|
|1 to 2 years||80 to 130 bpm|
|3 to 4 years||80 to 120 bpm|
|5 to 6 years||77 to 115 bpm|
|7 to 9 years||70 to 110 bpm|
|10+ years||60 to 100 bpm|
Resting Heart Rates in Older People
As people grow older, the resting heart rate tends to slow down a little. Although it doesn’t change much, the heart rate will be lower than it was in youth, especially when you exercise. In the elderly, the heart doesn't beat as fast during stress or physical activity compared with the young.
Which Factors Influence the Heart Rate?
Apart from the differences in heart rate between sexes and ages, certain factors can also influence your BPM:
- Amount of sleep. The lack of sleep may cause irregular heart rates.
- People who experience prolonged stress are likely to have heart rates outside the norm.
- People with excessive body mass can have irregular heart rates.
- Excessive intake of caffeine and alcohol, drug usage, and smoking is detrimental to heart health.
What If My Heart Rate is Different Than Normal?
Very slow or fast heart rate may be a sign of an unhealthy lifestyle or disease – check below.
Tachycardia (High Heart Rate) in Adults
Tachycardia is a condition when the heart beats faster than 100 bpm. Of course, it is normal for children, but what about adults? At high rates, the heart of an adult cannot pump oxygen-rich blood which may lead to many dangerous conditions. If your BPM is high, consider visiting a doctor, and be sure to check the list of possible reasons below.
Reasons for Tachycardia
- Chronic stress issues may cause abnormally high heart rates.
- Heart’s electrical signals. They can cause the heart to beat very fast. In some cases, this is normal, but it’s always better to double-check. Issues with electrical signals can potentially lead to cardiac arrest, stroke, or heart failure. Be especially cautious if such episodes happen more than once.
- High blood pressure, or hypertension. If your blood pressure is high, watch the heart rates closely, and be sure to visit the doctor.
- Use of certain substances. If a person has large amounts of alcohol or caffeine intake, their heart rates may be high.
- Problems with blood supply to the heart muscle. This condition results from atherosclerosis, heart failure, or tumours. Also, it is a cause of cardiomyopathy, heart valve disease, or infections.
- Certain health conditions. Some non-obvious conditions, such as drug abuse, lung diseases, or thyroid disease may cause tachycardia.
Symptoms of Tachycardia
Apart from the high BPM, there are other symptoms of tachycardia. They are dizziness, sudden weakness, fainting, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and fluttering in the chest.
Low Heart Rate (Bradycardia) and Age
A condition when the resting heart rate is slower than usual and is less than 60 bpm is called bradycardia. Often, doctors define bradycardia as anything below 50 bpm. Importantly, for some people, low heart rate may be normal – for example, in athletes, low heart rate results from training.
Also, aged people who had around 60 bpm through a lifetime, may feel normal if their heart rate is lower. For other people, it may be a symptom of certain conditions. Bradycardia itself can be dangerous because when the heart beats slowly, it pumps less blood which may be associated with heart failure.
There can be numerous causes of low heart rate:
- In this case, the slow heart rate is completely normal.
- Heart attacks. They can damage certain areas of the conduction system of the heart, which leads to bradycardia.
- Heart valve surgery. The conduction system of the heart may be traumatized during the operation.
- Certain situations. For example, vomiting or coughing may cause a reduced heart rate. Also, certain drugs, electrolyte disbalance, and metabolic disorders can make the heart go slower.
As for the symptoms, bradycardia characterizes by dizziness and fatigue.
Without a doubt, the resting heart rate is an important measurement that allows spotting any problems within the body quickly. Usually, resting heart rates from 60 to 100 bpm in adults are normal, whereas children have much higher BPM. In the older age, the resting heart rate may be insufficiently slower. Men and women have different hormonal balances, so their heart rate also differs.
Certain factors influence the resting heart rate. For all the ages, excessive body mass, bad habits, prolonged stress, and lack of sleep may cause an abnormal heart rate which leads to health issues.
The high heart rate in adults is called tachycardia. It signals such conditions as high blood pressure or problems with blood supply. Drug abuse, stress, and other factors can also affect the heart. Bradycardia is the low heart rate, and it usually results from heart attacks, surgery, or aging.