Your pulse is the number of times your heart beats per minute. People may also refer to your pulse as your “heart rate.” Your pulse may increase as you walk up a flight of stairs, or when you feel nervous before an interview—that's normal for everyone. Knowing your pulse can help you stay healthy. The first step is measuring it.
How to measure your pulse with your Livongo blood pressure monitor
Whenever you take your blood pressure with your Livongo blood pressure monitor, you are also measuring your pulse. Your Livongo monitor will send your readings to your Livongo account.
What’s a healthy pulse?
Your resting heart rate is the number of times your pulse beats in 60 seconds. The American Heart Association considers a healthy resting heart rate to be between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
- If you have heart failure, your heart rate may be increased. Since the heart’s ability to pump is decreased, it beats faster to keep blood flowing. Other conditions like atrial fibrillation, overactive thyroid, anemia, and fever can also raise your pulse.
- Lower pulse readings could happen because of meds you’re taking, like beta blockers. Heart damage due to aging or heart attack, underactive thyroid, and sleep apnea can also lower your pulse. Very active people also tend to have a lower resting heart rate because their heart muscle becomes more efficient at working.
- Changes in your pulse are important. If you notice your pulse increasing or decreasing over days, let your doctor know. If you are feeling dizzy or fatigued, this may be a sign that your condition is changing. Infections, overmedication, worsening heart failure, and uncontrolled atrial fibrillation can all result in changes to pulse.
Watching for changes in your pulse can help you know when to talk to your care team. Check your blood pressure and pulse first thing in the morning, before you start your day.
Here are a few ways to keep your resting heart rate in a healthier range:
- Stay active. Getting your heart beating with exercise is healthy. Exercising can make your heart stronger.
- Keep cool. Heart rates increase in warmer temps to help cool the body. Stay in the shade, wear light clothing, and stay well hydrated.
- Stress less. Having a meditation practice can help calm the mind.
- Quit smoking. Not that you needed another reason not to smoke, but increased heart rate is another problem linked with cigarettes.
Questions about how your pulse can help you learn more about your health? Schedule a call with a Livongo expert coach today.