The pulse rate is a measure of how fast the heart is beating. A pulse rate, also called the heart rate, is a count of the number of heart beats per minute. The pulse rate is not consistent. Many factors can affect the person’s heart rate. Some common causes of high pulse rate include stress, illness, and physical activity.
To check your heart rate, find your pulse and count the beats for twenty seconds and multiply that by three. You may also count the beats for fifteen seconds and multiply by four. Avoid using the thumb to feel the pulse since it can make the count inaccurate. A normal heart rate for adults is sixty to one hundred beats per minute while the person is at rest.
Causes of a high heart rate include some medications including decongestants and asthma inhalers. Stimulants such as cigarettes, caffeine, and many types of diet pills can cause an increased heart rate. Fever, an overactive thyroid gland, pregnancy, and heart disease are possible causes of a high heart rate.
Exercise or other physical activity is a common cause of a rapid heart rate. Drinking alcohol, anxiety, and exposure to increased stress levels can cause a person to have a heart rate that is above normal. Anemia is another potential cause.
In many cases, the increased heart rate is not problematic. For example, if the person experiences an increased heart rate while exercising, the heart rate typically returns to normal soon after exercise is stopped without causing any problems.
Sometimes, a person’s heart rate can become elevated to unhealthy levels. A high heart rate causes dizziness, shortness of breath, fainting, and chest pain. The person may experience heart palpitations and feel lightheaded. An elevated heart rate can be a sign of a heart arrhythmia.
If the person is exercising or just finished physical activity and has a high pulse rate, the person should call the doctor is the heart rate does not return to normal. A person should also call the doctor if they have an elevated heart rate without any physical activity as the cause.
To diagnose the cause of a persistently elevated pulse rate, the doctor may order some diagnostic tests including chest x-rays, an echocardiogram, blood tests, and an electrocardiogram (EKG). An EKG, also called an ECG, can be used to detect abnormalities in the heart beat and characteristics of the heart.