Every visit to the doctor, whether for a wellness checkup or an illness, begins with a nurse taking certain vital signs. You are probably familiar with the routine. In addition to obtaining your height and weight, the nurse will document your pulse rate, blood pressure, temperature, and respiratory rate. These measurements make up your vital signs and give a very basic view of your overall health. While you are familiar with having these measurements taken, you may not have a clear understanding of normal results and the picture they present of your health.
10. Normal Resting Heart Rate
Your pulse rate tells you how many times your heart beats per minute. To take your pulse and measure your heart rate, you can place your fingers on the pulse point of your wrist. Then, for 10 seconds, count the number of times you feel the blood vessels pulsing against your fingertips. Multiply this number by six to get the number of beats per minute (bpm). A normal resting heart rate falls in the range of 60 to 100 bpm. When a nurse takes your pulse, he may also make note of any irregularities in the rhythm of your pulse.
Tachycardia refers to an irregular heartbeat that is faster than 100 bpm while at rest. When your heart beats too fast, it may not be able to adequately provide your organs and tissues with oxygenated blood. This can lead to lightheadedness, dizziness, chest pain, a racing feeling in the chest, and difficulty breathing. According to the Mayo Clinic, conditions that may trigger tachycardia include heart disease, anemia, smoking, fever, electrolyte imbalances, and changes in blood pressure. Treatments for tachycardia include medications, ablation, and implantation of either a pacemaker or a cardioverter.