Blood Pressure vs. Heart Rate

Cardiac Health | Monday, February 25th, 2013 | No Comments

What’s the difference between the two?

Both blood pressure and heart rate provide important information about our health. Here, we debunk some myths about the relationship between the two.

Blood pressure is defined as the changing pressure of blood against the walls of blood vessels throughout the body.

  • It changes according to how hard your body is working or how well you are, and it varies throughout your body.
  • It is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
  • It consists of two numbers: the top number, called the Systolic pressure, is the force of blood as it is pushed by the heart contracting.
  • The bottom number, called the Diastolic pressure, represents the lessening pressure as the heart relaxes. That’s why the top number is bigger than the bottom one.

It is extremely important to understand and know your blood pressure measurements and what they say about your health. High blood pressure (hypertension) indicates risk of certain diseases and can be lowered through many methods.

Your heart rate, or pulse, is the number of beats your heart makes in one minute.

  • It is referred to as “beats per minute” (BPM).
  • A normal heart rate for an adult at rest is typically between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
  • The more athletic you are, the faster your heart rate drops after exercise.

The only thing that blood pressure and heart rate have in common is that they are controlled by the heart. A heart rate can’t tell you anything about your blood pressure. Rather, it can only inform you about how hard your heart is working to distribute blood and oxygen.

An increase in heart rate does not make your blood pressure rise at the same rate. The reason is that your blood vessels get bigger or smaller to accommodate the amount of blood passing through them. Your heart rate may change greatly while your blood pressure only changes a bit.

Knowing your numbers is knowing your health. Learn more about the Central Florida Cardiac & Vascular Institute online or call us at Osceola Regional Medical Center using our free, 24/7 Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-800-447-8206.

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