Resting Heart Rate FAQ
A normal resting heart rate can range anywhere from 40 to 100 beats per minute. We have a chart generally relating resting heart rate and fitness level for different age groups. There are many factors other than fitness which may account for variations in heart rate such as medications, illness and stress. Below are some common questions about resting heart rate.
If you have any concerns at all about the functioning of your heart, you should consult a doctor who can examine you personally and give expert opinion.
What are the causes of a low resting heart rate (bradycardia) ?
- You may may calculated your heart rate incorrectly. See detailed information on how and when to measure resting heart rate.
- You may be extremely fit. Fitter people often have a low resting heart rate, as the heart gets more efficient at pumping blood around the body, so at rest more blood can be pumped around with each beat, therefore less beats per minute are needed. See the heart rate and fitness chart.
- A medication you are on may have caused your heart rate to slow. Some medicines that may slow the heart include those for treating heart problems or high blood pressure, such as beta-blockers, antiarrhythmics, and digoxin.
- Heart diseases that damage the heart's electrical system, such as coronary artery disease, heart attack, and infections such as endocarditis and myocarditis. There are also conditions that can slow the electrical impulses through the heart, such as having a low thyroid level or an electrolyte imbalance.
What are the causes of a high resting heart rate (tachycardia) ?
- You may not be fully rested. Resting heart rate is ideally taken after a few minutes upon waking while still lying in bed. See detailed information on how and when to measure resting heart rate.
- You may have calculated your heart rate incorrectly. See detailed information on how and when to measure resting heart rate.
- You are stressed or have high blood pressure.
- You are drinking too much coffee or other caffeinated drinks.
- Lifestyle factors such as heavy consumption of alcohol and smoking can result in a high resting heart rate.
- You may have a fever or other illness. Some diseases and congenital heart defects may cause an elevated heart rate. There are also conditions that can increase the electrical impulses through the heart, such as having a high thyroid level or an electrolyte imbalance.
- A medication you are on may have caused your heart rate to be elevated. An elevated heart rate is a side effect of some drugs, also some recreational drugs like cocaine can also increase heart rate.
My resting heart rate is outside of the normal range - what should I do?
- Don't panic.
- Make sure you are measuring your resting heart rate correctly. See detailed information on how and when to measure resting heart rate.
- Take several measures, over several days, to ensure you have a consistent level.
- If you are still concerned, seek expert medical opinion. Don't rely on comments and feedback here as medical advice.
If you have any concerns about your heart, you should be asking your doctor who can take a full history, examine you and give expert opinion. Don't rely on comments and feedback here as medical advice.
- more comments about Resting Heart Rate
- Resting Heart Rate Chart
- How and when to measure resting heart rate
- All about Heart Rate and Exercise
- Heart Rate Records, maximum and minimum.
- A discussion of What is a normal heart rate?
- Measuring Heart Rate — how to measure using the manual and monitor methods.
- Maximum Heart Rate — how high can you go?
- Topend Sports Store: Heart Rate Monitors for sale, also ECG Monitors
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