Your pulse is the number of beats your heart makes per minute. You can feel a pulse when you press your fingers against the skin where an artery is pumping. For a healthy body, you need a healthy heart, and the pulse is an indicator of how your heart is functioning. A normal human pulse rate varies depending on age, sex, exercise, diet and physical condition. A pulse can be thready, normal or bounding. There are more things your should know about the normal human pulse rate.
How to Find Your Pulse
You can find your radial pulse by touching your wrist, with the palm up, on your thumb side. The same artery extends to the inside of your elbow on the pinkie side of your supinated hand above the elbow. This pulse is called the brachial pulse and is always the sight of blood pressure readings. When a doctor takes his stethoscope and puts the diaphragm over your heart, she is listening to your apical pulse.
Current Healthy Pulse Standards
For adults, the current standard for a normal pulse is 60 to 100 beats per minute. Your pulse rate will be faster when you exercise, are under stress or have a fever. When you're resting, your pulse rate will be slower.
Babies have a pulse range of 120 to 160 beats per minute.
Toddlers' pulse rates drop to 90 to 140 beats per minute.
Preschoolers and kindergartners drop even more, 80 to 110 beats per minute.
Elementary and middle school children have pulses that range from 75 to 100 beats per minute.
Teenagers’ pulses equalize with the adult range of pulse.
Women have a pulse rate five to 10 beats higher than men.
Low and Too-Slow Pulse
Athletes train so their hearts pump efficiently and do not strain. With no health problems, the average rate for an athlete’s heart at resting rate is often less than 70 beats per minute.
To have a pulse below 60 beats per minute is to have insufficient beating of the heart and weakness in the body. Sometimes, a low heart rate is brought on by vascular heart disease, immunity problems or problems in the electrical firing that sets the heart to pulsate.
A pulse over 100 beats per minute is not healthy unless you are a newborn. A body’s circulatory system needs clear passageways in the arteries, veins and capillaries to travel through. Blocked or partially blocked blood vessels are detrimental to cardiovascular health. The heart works harder to pump blood through the blood vessels than it would normally have to work. An adult needs to exercise and eat the right kinds of foods that don’t allow buildup of fat and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the arteries.
Unhealthy Pulse Signs
A sign of an unhealthy pulse is a bounding pulse that you can see throbbing on the surface of the skin. You should not see a pulse unless you are a surgeon operating on the heart itself. Normally, pulses should be felt or heard through a stethoscope. Another abnormal sign is a weak, thready pulse. It shows that the heart is not operating efficiently to allow blood to travel.