Anatomy And Physiology

Anatomy Physiology

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Heart rate is the number of heartbeats per minute (BPM). A normal heart rate varies between people, depending upon age, gender, activity levels, and their health status. It is universally accepted that a healthy, adult heart should beat 60-100 times per minute while resting. As the mental and physical stresses increase, so does the heart rate. During intense workout, it can reach 180 BPM. If anyone has a constant heart rate above 100 BPM while resting, then it is considered that he suffers from Tachycardia, a medical condition that can cause serious heart and kidney problems, even strokes. There are various factors that raise heart rate and any adult must understand them in order to avoid life-threatening conditions.

High blood pressure.

Essential hypertension is considered a major cause of an elevated heart rate. The normal blood pressure levels for adults are 90-119mmHg for systolic and 60-79mmHg for diastolic pressure. Although no direct cause has been identified, it is accepted that obesity (Body Mass Index greater than 30) leads to a high blood pressure. Other major risk factors are smoking, lack of exercise, genetic mutations, family history, heavy consumption of salt and alcohol. Since there are no symptoms, anyone above the age of 30 must measure his blood pressure at least two times per year.

Emotional factors.

Emotional factors are very dangerous, because they cannot be measured and most of the times, a person refuse to accept that he suffers from psychological problems. Anger and fear increase the heart rate temporarily. But if anyone is in a state of constant anxiety and emotional stress, then the heart cannot rest and slowly but steadily, the heart’s health deteriorates. Usually in these cases, diagnosis comes late and the treatment becomes more difficult.

Temporary factors.

The heart rate increases dramatically during heavy exercise. If anyone is interested in working out, he should consult his doctor before starting a program. For normal workouts, a regular check up is enough, but for heavy or aerobic exercise, a person should measure his maximum heart rate (HRmax) via a cardiac stress test. Many people avoid visits to a doctor and choose to measure their maximum heart rate through the easy to calculate formula HRmax=220-age. But it is now consider inaccurate and it should be avoided. The most accepted formula is HRmax=205.8 – (0.685 x age), but a visit to a doctor is always the best option. Other factors that increase heart rate temporarily are coffee, tea, heavy meals, and fever.


There are a number of diseases that lead to an increased heart rate; the most dangerous are heart inflammations like Myocarditis and Pericarditis. In addition lung diseases, vitamin D deficiency, anemia, and blood disorders can affect heart rate. And usually people, who suffered from a heart attack, have high BPM constantly.

Everyone must know the factors that increase heart rate. It is very important, because if not treated a high heart rate will definitely cause life threatening medical conditions. Fortunately, nowadays treatment is easy and effective. If an elevated heart rate is diagnosed early, some small changes in the diet and lifestyle usually are enough  (except for genetic preconditions). If it is diagnosed at a later stage, heart rate can be regulated through medication. Prevention saves lives and regarding heart rate all anyone needs to do is a regular check up once a year.

More about this author: Kyriakos Anastasiadis

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