Normal Heart Rate -


Definition and Basics -

The Normal Heart Rate is the rate when the heart is at rest, when an individual is in a fully relaxed mental and physical state. In an adult, it is about 70 bpm in males and 75 bpm in females, but can vary between people. However, the range that is usually referred to as normal heart rate range is 60-100 bpm. It is considerably higher in case of inactive people as compared to active people (athletes). Normal Heart Rate also varies with age. Children of age less than 12 would have 80-120 bpm, children above 12 would have around 60-100 bpm.

How does the Normal heart beat?

A cluster of specialized cells in the right atrium of the heart called SA (sinoatrial) node acting as a natural pacemaker of the heart, sets the heart beat rate. A normal heart rhythm is called Normal Sinus Rhythm. The SA node fires impulses which are spread through the right and left atria, causing them to contact and force blood into the ventricles. The impulses travel to the AV (Atrioventricular) node, another cluster of specialized cells, however slow for a moment before going to ventricles. The impulses travel through a pathway of fibers called HIS-Purkinje network. The network sends impulse to the ventricles causing them to contract and force blood from the heart to the body and lungs. Once this is completed, the same cycle begins again when the SA node sends an impulse again.

Abnormal Heart Rate in the context of normal heart rate -

The normal heart rate is lower in young people, especially those who are physically fit. The heart rate varies normally in response to exercise and other stimulants like anger and pain. The heart rate is said to be abnormal (the condition is called arrhythmias) when it is unusually fast (called tachycardia) or slow (bradycardia) or is irregular. Arrhythmias can be of different types, Atrial Fibrillation and Atrial Flutter being the two most common types. These abnormalities in the heart rate may result in the heart's inability to pump blood properly, blood clots, blockages in the blood, causing deaths in severe cases.

Can there be changes in the Normal Heart Rate?

Illnesses such as cold, flu or light headedness may cause an increase in the normal heart rate.
Light headedness is an illness where an individual cannot consume enough fluids to replace the fluid loss from the body due to vomiting, fever, and diarrhea. Light headedness can also be caused with a sudden drop in the blood pressure caused due to change in positions.

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