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High Pulse Rate at Rest

Leena Palande Apr 10, 2019
Pulse rate lets you know how many times your heart beats in a minute. Severe fluctuations in the pulse rate indicate a problem in the heart and/or lungs. Read on to know the effects of high pulse rate at rest and the factors that raise your pulse rate...
Doctors usually count your pulse rate first, when you visit a clinic for physical examination. Pulse rate is defined as the rate at which your heart beats per minute. Pulse rate helps assess heart health and the overall health of an individual.
Resting Heart Rate (RHR) is nothing but the heart rate measured when your body is at rest. It is measured in beats per minute (bpm). Healthy RHR means your lungs and heart are functioning effectively. You may have noticed that your RHR increases after physical training.
Women usually have a higher pulse rate than men. Age, anxiety, stress, gender, medication, activity level, over training, fatigue, smoking and various disorders can affect normal pulse rate. Record of resting heart rate during a physical fitness program helps assess the improvement in health. High pulse rate conveys that the heart has to work harder.
The condition indicates reduced efficiency of the heart, leading to less blood flow to the parts of the body. It also suggests increased oxygen demand for the heart. Regular exercise helps improve the efficiency of your heart and your heart may start pumping more blood per beat, which in turn may help improve your resting pulse rate.

Causes of High Pulse Rate at Rest

Normal pulse rate is calculated when you are resting, and therefore, it is also known as resting pulse rate. A younger woman has a higher pulse rate than an older woman. Similarly, an overweight woman will have a higher pulse rate than the woman of same age and race with less weight.
Healthy RHR for athletes can be as low as 30 bpm. Athletes usually keep checking their normal pulse rate; as it is the factor that determines their fitness level. High heart rate at rest is known as tachycardia. Hear rate above 100 bpm is considered as abnormally high heart rate at rest. Some of the major causes of high pulse rate at rest are:
  • Breathing faster or deeper than normal
  • Fever, infection
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy
  • Hormone imbalance, excessive production of hormones like epinephrine (adrenaline)
  • Long-term high blood pressure
  • Malfunctioning of the heart valves resulting in leakage of blood in the heart chambers
  • Myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscles
  • Pericarditis, or inflammation of the pericardium
  • Dysfunction of the pacemaker of the heart
  • Insufficient supply of oxygen to the heart muscles
  • Disorders wherein thickening of blood is noticed
  • Dysfunction of the ventricles (lower chambers of the heart)
  • Dysfunction of the atria (upper chambers)
  • Abnormal electrical activity in the atria leading to muscle fibrillating
  • Poor circulation of blood
  • Thyroid disorders like hyperthyroidism
  • Lung diseases like emphysema, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, etc.
  • Certain drugs and medications
  • Physical or psychological stress leading to increased sympathetic stimulation resulting in increased intensity of the action of sympathetic nerve fibers on the heart
  • High pulse rate at night can be caused by shortness of breath and it can cause you to wake up in the middle of night. Fear, anxiety or stress can raise your pulse rate at night.
Inflammation of the heart can lead to chest pain and breathing difficulty. Increased pulse rate can result in angina, ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction and other heart diseases.
'High resting pulse rate and low blood pressure' is considered as a serious condition. Higher than normal pulse rate can cause drop in blood pressure and the condition indicates 'miscommunication between the heart and the brain'.
You need to consult your doctor, if your heart beats for more than 83 times in a minute. High resting pulse rate is considered as perfectly normal after exercise or whenever you exert yourself in any other way. People with high resting heart rate are more likely to suffer from heart attack in the coming years.