The pulse rate is a measure of heart beat. Each time the heart beats,
blood is pumped through the arteries, causing a wave of momentary expansion which can be felt in
the arteries near the surface of the body and where an artery passes over
a bone. This expansion of the artery, or pulse, can be felt by gently pressing
the artery against the bone with your fingers. The most common sites
for taking a pulse are at the wrist below the thumb, at the
temple and at the angle of the jaw.
Adults usually have a pulse rate of 60 to 80 beats per minute when at rest.
The normal pulse rates varies with age as well as between the genders; it varies with the position
of the individual, being more rapid when he is standing than when he is
sitting and slowest when he is fully relaxed. The pulse rate
is increased during excitement, anger, fear and anxiety. It is decreased
during sleep. Hypothermia or certain drugs might cause the pulse to beat
more slowly than usual. A normal pulse rate should corresponds
with the age of the person, should have a regular rhythm with the beats evenly spaced,
be of moderate volume, and the pulse should not be too easily compressed.
Counting Pulse Rate
To check the pulse rate at the wrist, feel the inside of the wrist on
the thumb side, just up from the creases between hand and forearm.
Place you first
three fingers along the line of the artery in the wrist. The thumb
and fingertips have pulses so use the pads of your fingers to take a pulse
confusion. Count the beats of the pulse for 1 minute, using a digital
watch or one with a second-hand. Remember to note the rate, strength
Any change in the rate, rhythm or strength of the pulse may mean that
there has been a change in the person's condition. If on retaking
the pulse a few minutes later there is
still a significant change, consult your doctor.