Your heart is a fascinating organ that doesn’t stop working from the moment you’re born. Naturally, many interesting things are going on in the circulatory system that allow the heart to perform in a healthy way. Two of these variables are heart rate and blood pressure. But while you may have heard of both terms, you might not know precisely what the difference is or how the two influence each other.
Today, we’ll be discussing heart rate vs blood pressure, what they mean, and how they relate to one another.
Heart Rate vs Blood Pressure: What’s The Difference?
The key difference between your heart rate and blood pressure is that the heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. On the other hand, blood pressure is the force with which the blood moves through your circulatory system. Heart rate is measured in beats per minute (bpm), while blood pressure is a little more complicated; each measurement contains two numbers.
When taking your blood pressure, the measuring device measures the systolic pressure and the diastolic pressure. The systolic pressure is the maximum pressure in the blood vessels during a single heartbeat, while the diastolic pressure is the minimum pressure in between beats. So let’s say you have a systolic pressure of 120 and a diastolic pressure of 80. That means your final measurement will be 120/80 mmHg (millimeters of mercury.)
Both of these numbers are vital signs that are important for doctors to assess a patient’s health. Indeed, you’ve probably seen both of these measured when you go in for a doctor’s appointment.
How Are Heart Rate and Blood Pressure Related?
So, are blood pressure and heart rate related? It might seem intuitive that as your heart rate rises, your blood pressure would rise too. But this is not the case, at least not exactly. For example, while you exercise, your heart rate rises to supply more blood to the body. However, healthy blood vessels dilate to allow this to happen, making the increase in blood pressure relatively small. It’s also possible to have an increased heart rate along with decreased blood pressure – this happens with dehydration or severe infection.
Interestingly, there is no single, universal number that is healthy for an ideal heart rate or blood pressure measurement. However, having a higher heart rate than “normal” is not as dangerous as having high blood pressure. While the heart can speed up or slow down as the body needs, your blood vessels can only handle a limited amount of pressure. With every increase of 20 mmHg over a healthy 120 mmHg systolic blood pressure, your risk of heart failure, stroke, and heart attack doubles.
Conclusion: Which One Should You Keep An Eye On?
Both heart rate and blood pressure are important to keep under control. And the best way to do so is to stay in shape and get regular exercise. Even moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day has significant benefits. In addition, if you have a sedentary job or lifestyle, get up, stretch and walk around frequently. It’s no secret that physical activity can prolong your life and keep your heart and body healthy.
This post is brought to you by Octagos Health. We provide remote event monitoring software solutions for cardiac patients and providers. For a demonstration or any questions, give us a call today at (281) 769-8733.