Your Pulse and Your INR

Publication Date:
Sun, 02/01/2015
By: Alere Staff

If you’ve been to the doctor in the last 30 years, you will have had your pulse taken. Your pulse, or heart rate, is the number of times your heart beats per minute. Your pulse can be felt and measured on the side of your neck, at your wrists, on the top of your feet and also inside your elbow.1 This measure, along with blood pressure and temperature, are included in what is called your vital signs. The American Heart Association considers a ‘normal’ pulse to be between 60 beats per minute and up to 100 beats per minute.1

A healthy pulse may vary considerably. Gender, age and fitness level are a couple variables that determine your pulse rate. Knowing your pulse can help your doctor get a picture of your health. A nurse will check your pulse to see if it is regular, meaning your heart is beating with a normal rhythm.

Other factors that change your heart rate include the air temperature, activity level, your body size and medication use. Your pulse even changes from the time you wake up to the time you’re dressed for the day. Having frequent unexplained fast heart rates could be a sign of other health conditions. In some cases, doctors may ask you to track your heart rate to determine your medication dosages. However, pulse rates do not affect how long it takes your blood to clot or your INR test result if you are taking warfarin.

Your heart rate is just one important tool your doctors can use to understand your health conditions. However, your pulse rate is not the same as your blood pressure. In fact, these two measures are unrelated. While your heart rate measures the number of times your heart beats per minute, blood pressure measures the force exerted by your heart against your arteries as it pumps blood to the body. Unlike heart rate, it can increase your risk of bleeding and contribute to coronary artery disease and heart failure. It is a good idea to have a checkup or ‘physical exam’ once a year even if you’re in good health.2 The visit will make sure both your heart rate and your blood pressure are serving you well.

 

References:

  1. 2015. All about heart rate (pulse). American Heart Association. Retrieved January 14, 2015 at website: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MyHeartandStrokeNews/All-About-Heart-Rate-Pulse_UCM_438850_Article.jsp
  2. 2015. How often should I see a doctor? Health Status. Retrieved January 14, 2015 at website: http://www.healthstatus.com/health_blog/wellness/doctor/