5 Common Misconceptions About your Heart Rate

Is the erratic pulse of your heart a constant source of stress?
Do you find yourself worrying about your risk of heart disease because your heart seems to beat too fast (or too slow), sometimes? The truth of the matter thankfully, is that a sudden change in your heart rate may not always be a sign of impending heart disease. Check out our answers to 5 common questions you might have had about your heart:

 

Question 1: Can high-stress situations cause my heart to beat faster than usual?

 

It's perfectly normal for your heart to beat faster than usual in times of great stress. Our heart tends to beat faster than usual when we experience thrilling (and scary) situations, do intense workouts or are just down in the dumps.

Our pulse is also affected by external factors like changes in the climate (heat and humidity), and can even rise for a few seconds when we do minor things like standing up after sitting for a long while.

It's, therefore, safe to rule out any major issues if you have minor jumps in your heart rate. Unless it’s a side effect of medication (like thyroid medicine), in which case it is important that you consult your doctor immediately.

 

Question 2: My heart is beating erratically. Am I going to have a heart attack?

 

heart beats

 

Erratic skips or random flutters in your heartbeat can be a case of heart palpitations.

Palpitations are not usually a threat to your life and can be caused due to:

  1. Strenuous exercise
  2. High-stress situations
  3. Pre-existing disorders like hyperthyroidism
  4. Acute dehydration
  5. Cigarette smoking
  6. Intake of caffeine or alcohol
  7. High fever
  8. Certain medication or supplements

While any of the above symptoms can lead to irregular heartbeats and not be a sign of a heart attack it is important to consult a doctor if you have sudden difficulties in breathing or sharp pains in your chest. 

 


Question 3: Is it healthy to have a resting heart rate between  60-100 BPM?

 

Modern studies believe that your heart’s resting rate should ideally be lower than the old standard of 60-100 beats per minute (BPM).

Doctors recommend that we should follow in the footsteps of athletes (who tend to have resting heart rates of around 45 to 70 BPM) since their hearts can efficiently deliver blood to their bodies with fewer contractions. People with heart rates above 75 BPM aren't considered to be as fit as their lower BPM counterparts and are usually susceptible to diseases like heart attacks due to the additional strain faced by their hearts.

 

Question 4: Is a low pulse rate a sign of a weak heart?

 

Pulse rate

 

As discussed above, a low pulse rate is actually the sign of a healthy and efficient heart. You should, however, consult a doctor if you keep having sharp pains in your chest, face difficulties in breathing and have frequent dizzy spells (vertigo).

 

Question 5: Are my blood pressure levels linked to my heart rate?

 

It's easy to assume that there is a direct link between your blood pressure and heart rate, given they both seem to rise and fall when you undertake any strenuous activities or go through extreme emotions. It is, however, important to evaluate your BP and heart rate independent of each other, as you can suffer from low or high blood pressure even when your heart is beating at a normal rate.

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