Pulse Rate vs. Heart Rate

Difference Between Pulse Rate and Heart Rate

The terms ‘pulse rate’ and ‘heart rate’ are often taken to mean the same thing. In reality, this is not entirely true. The beating of your heart or heartbeat is what causes the pulses in your arteries or your pulse rate. Imagine throwing a stone into a calm lake; the ripples that this action causes are akin to your pulse rate. The heartbeat, however, is simply the number of instances that your heart actually beats to pump blood throughout the body. The heart’s contraction produces heartbeats, which in turn, forces blood through the body’s arteries. The surging of blood through the arteries, when measured, is what we call pulse rate.

An average adult’s heart normally beats for sixty to eighty times within one minute. Older people’s hearts, however, can reach sixty to one hundred beats per minute. Another interesting fact is that women usually have higher heart rates compared to men. It is a common belief that heart rate can be affected by several factors such as physical exercise, diet, stress, injuries and illness.

A pulse can also be defined as the contraction and expansion of an artery. The blood flow caused by the heart’s pumping causes these contractions and expansions. Pulse rate can be measured a lot easier at the neck and wrists when older people are involved. In children; however, it’s better to take it at their upper arms.

In most cases, the heart and pulse rate of a person are the same. Differences occur when blood can no longer go through the arteries easily. When this happens, it’s wise to immediately seek medical assistance. However, if the heart rate increases after strenuous exercises, especially in the cases of 40 year old adults, there is actually nothing to worry about.