Blood pressure and heart rate play close roles in most people’s minds. After all, these two vital signs are often measured simultaneously in the doctor’s office.
But each measures different factors related to your heart health. Blood pressure is the force of blood flowing against the walls of your arteries; heart rate – that is, heart rate – is the number of times your heart contracts and relaxes per minute.
However, there are some well-known misconceptions about these two.
1. Blood pressure and heart rate always linked
Myth: Your blood pressure and heart rate can often go up and down, so it’s variable. For example, when you’re in danger, your blood pressure and heart rate can go up at the same time. However, if your heart rate goes up, that doesn’t automatically mean your blood pressure will go up – and vice versa.
Watching them in different directions can also indicate a disease. For example, if you’re dehydrated, bleeding, or have a serious infection, blood pressure typically drops and heart rate goes up.
2. Normal blood pressure and heart rate always have a fixed value.
Myth: There are rules, but what is normal varies from person to person.
Optimal blood pressure is typically defined as 120 mm Hg systolic – the pressure at which your heart contracts and pumps blood around the body – 80 mm Hg diastolic – the pressure at which the heart relaxes. The target for your resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute (BPM).
Note that heart rate and blood pressure may vary from person to person. You should work with your doctor to find out what values are normal for you.
3. A low heart rate or blood pressure always indicates a problem.
Myth: What is healthy for one person may indicate danger to another. For example, the heart rate of a person who does sports and sits during measurement may be around 50 or even 40. This is actually not a bad thing.
Low blood pressure can be more dangerous, especially in elderly patients and those with heart disease. However, low blood pressure value is not a problem in those who do not have any health problems at the controls, if the person feels good.
4. High blood pressure is more dangerous than a high heart rate.
That’s right: Again, what’s considered normal varies. However, there is a lot of evidence that high blood pressure increases the risk of stroke and heart attack. The physical effects of high blood pressure have negative effects on your blood vessels. Basically, for every 20 mmHg increase above 115 mmHg systolic, the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure or chronic kidney disease doubles.
A high heart rate can also be a danger sign, but the cause-effect relationship isn’t very clear. Studies show that people with a higher resting heart rate are more likely to experience heart problems and premature cardiac death. . The most common reason for a high resting rate is low fitness, that is, an irregular lifestyle.
5. Accurate measurement
That’s right: Choose a reliable and repeatable timeframe to measure your resting heart rate and blood pressure. Ideally, suitable times are in the morning before taking the medication and before dinner. Measurements made immediately after the exercises will give erroneous results.
If you cross your legs during the measurement, your systolic blood pressure may rise to 10 mm Hg. That’s why you should sit back, wait at least 5 minutes and measure blood pressure like that. Most blood pressure monitors will also measure your heart rate. But in the case of atrial fibrillation, the sensitivity of this method is reduced. In this case, the best method to measure heart rate is to listen to the heartbeat from the chest wall.