Your heart rate is actually your pulse – it’s how many times your heart beats per minute. That number is going to be different at different times of the day. It will be faster when you are active or exercising, are under stress or are sick with a fever. It will be slower when you are resting.
Your resting pulse is best checked as soon as you wake up in the morning – before you even get out of bed.
Many things can affect what your normal resting heart rate is, including your age, activity level and the time of day.
Most resting heart rates are between 60 and 100. If your heart rate is below 60, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a problem. It could be because of prescription medicines like beta blockers, or if you are very athletic and get a lot of exercise.
High Resting Heart Rate
If you are an adult with a resting heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute, you have a physical condition called tachycardia and should seek medical help to be properly diagnosed.
There are three types of tachycardia:
- Atrial or Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a fast heart rate that starts in the upper chambers of the heart. Most common in woman, anxious young people, people who drink a lot of caffeine and alcohol and who are heavy smokers. Symptoms include dizziness, lightheadedness, chest pain, shortness of breath and rapid heartbeat. Simply cutting down on caffeine and alcohol, quitting tobacco use, getting more rest, and meditation can cut down on the episodes.
- Sinus tachycardia is a fast, but steady heart rate caused by anxiety, fever, emotional distress, fright or strenuous exercise. Rather than treating the condition, your physician should treat the cause of the sinus tachycardia.
- Ventricular tachycardia is a fast heart rate that starts in the ventricles, or heart's lower chambers. It can be a life-threatening and requires a fast diagnosis and treatment. Ventricular tachycardia is usually associated with a heart disorder such as cardiomyopathy, sarcoidosis, or the lack of oxygen to the heart. Symptoms include dizziness, unconsciousness, lightheadedness and heart attack. Treatment may include electrical defibrillation, medication, surgery, or radiofrequency ablation.