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What Can You Understand From Your Heart Rate?



The importance of a healthy heart can not be overstated. We all understand this and use multiple health applications now. We are increasingly aware of our vitals. But, do we know what they mean? Heart rate, which is indirectly measured through pulse can tell you about the condition of your heart. Let us find out how.


What is Resting Heart Rate?


The number of times your heart beats per minute while you are comfortably at rest is known as resting Heart Rate or RHR. This number can be influenced by multiple factors like medications, intake of caffeine etc. and the right value for you can be regarded as the average of values when not influenced by external factors to the best possible extent. The heart rate is like a quick preview of the condition and efficiency of your heart.


What is the normal resting heart rate in adults?


Any value between 60 and 100 beats per minute is considered normal for adults. A lower value generally indicates better heart health. Athletes with trained bodies have very low resting heart rates.


What if my resting heart rate is above or below this range?


A resting heart rate above 100 usually indicates illness like infection, arrhythmia, heart problems, stress or consumption of substances like caffeine. In post Covid era a higher heart rate for few months after COVID infection is reported in few patients.


A lower RHR below 50 is also alarming, especially if you are experiencing symptoms like lightheadedness or dizziness. This can be caused because of problems with the electrical system of your heart. In older population sleeping heart rate can go as low as 40 without any consequence while any awake heart rate of below 40 requires urgent medical attention.


How can I measure my Resting Heart Rate?


The most important aspect of getting the resting heart rate is, as the name suggests, that you are at rest. You should not measure it within an hour of exercise or a stressful event. Your heart rate will be elevated and can not be considered your resting heart rate in those situations.


All you need is a watch with a second hand or a timer. While lying down, keep one hand straight and face your palm upwards. Use the other hand to slowly feel your pulse on your wrist on the palm side, just below your thumb. The area can roughly be defined as the palm-facing side where your wristwatch’s strap will be. Measure the number of pulses for a minute. This value is your Resting Heart Rate. Since conditions may vary, it is a good idea to take the average of a few consecutive measurements.


What causes the resting heart rate to go above 100 in adults?


A resting heart rate above 100 is called tachycardia. Several things can cause this including fairly common habits:

  • Exercise
  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Drinking coffee
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Medications


Health conditions leading to high resting heart rates include:

  • Fever
  • Infection
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • High or Low BP
  • Cardiac problems


Your doctor should certainly evaluate you if your resting heart rate continues to stay above 100.


What causes the resting heart rate to go below 60 in adults?


A resting heart rate below 60 is called bradycardia. Although this may be normal for an athlete who does intense body training, usually it is a sign of a problem like:

  • Age related degeneration of natural pulse generator of heart
  • Damage or inflammation of heart muscle
  • Chemical imbalances in blood
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
  • Medications


A lower heart rate below 60 also warrants an examination by your doctor.





Resting Heart Rate is an important indicator of heart health. A value between 60 and 100 is considered normal for adults. The normal values for infants and children vary with age. A lower value usually indicates your heart is able to keep the demand with lower effort and this is a good sign unless it goes below 50, at which point you should get it checked. A value above 100 also requires examination by your doctor

Dr. Nagendra Singh Chouhan
Cardiac Care
Meet The Doctor
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