Difference Between Heart Rate and Pulse Rate

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Heart Rate and Pulse Rate

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All are related to the heartbeat and blood pressure rate that occur within a span of an internationally approved time limit, which is typically a minute, and the general outline of both points the doctor in a diagnostic spree that is typically in the same direction.

In this article, let’s try to understand the major differences between heart rate and pulse rate.

Heart Rate vs Pulse Rate

Heart rate and pulse rate differ primarily in that, while heart rate measures the contractile activity of the heart to determine how many times in a minute the heart beats, pulse rate offers a more comprehensive view of blood pressure variations and the capacity of the arteries and veins to pump blood. The pulse rate is used to calculate the amount of blood the heart pumps into the arteries.

Now, the only reliable way to determine how well your heart is pumping is by measuring your heart rate.  So, the heart rate is a great indicator of the functioning state of the pumping unit since it is a muscular organ made of cardiac muscle, which is only found in the heart. Also, Heart rate, as used in contemporary medicine, is the simple calculation of how many times the heart beats in a minute. Now, the patient's pulse rate can be measured accurately, particularly when they report feeling tired and low on energy. It also aids in determining the effectiveness of the body's blood pressure gradient system. One may even say that the pulse rate, which can be measured using a variety of techniques from a variety of measuring places, is defined by figuratively decoding the heartbeat.

Difference Between Heart rate and Pulse rate in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison Heart Rate Pulse Rate
The Change Caused by Sudden Motion Hardly noticeable Large alterations observed
Variations due to medicine Extremely fatal Not very critical
Measurement Its measured over the chest. Its measured by taking multiple locations like wrist or side of the neck.
Effect on cardiac muscles It proves the working efficiency of muscles. No effect on the muscles.
Extra information Its measured by the number of heartbeats per minute. Its measured by the blood pressure gradients.

What is Heart Rate?

Perhaps if you're not athletic, knowing your heart rate can help you keep track of your level of fitness and even help you notice emerging health issues. The amount of times your heart beats every minute is known as your heart rate or pulse. Everybody's normal heart rate is different. Knowing yours might be a useful indicator of your heart's health. The pace and regularity of your pulse can alter as you get older and may indicate a heart disease or another condition that has to be treated.

When you're not exercising, your heart is pumping the least quantity of blood at your resting heart rate. Your heart rate normally ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute when you're sitting or lying down, calm, relaxed, and healthy (beats per minute).

Nevertheless, a heart rate under 60 does not always indicate illness. It can be a side effect of using a medicine like a beta blocker. Individuals who are very athletic or physically active often have a slower metabolism. Since their heart muscle is in better shape and doesn't need to work as hard to sustain a regular beat, active people regularly have lower resting heart rates (as low as 40). Usually, only a little amount of exercise will significantly alter the resting pulse.

Your doctor might want you to track and document your heart rate if you're using a beta blocker to lower blood pressure or to slow down an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). Your doctor can decide to adjust the dosage or switch to a different drug by monitoring your heart rate.

Inform your doctor, who can determine whether it's an emergency if your pulse is very low or if you experience regular episodes of unexplained fast heartbeats, particularly if they make you feel weak, dizzy, or faint. One tool to use in determining your health is your pulse.

Moreover, a lower resting heart rate typically indicates improved cardiovascular fitness and more effective cardiac function. Also, a well-trained athlete, for instance, might have a typical resting heart rate that is closer to 40 beats per minute.

Just take your pulse to determine your heart rate. Put your third and index fingers on the side of your windpipe on your neck. Place two fingers between the bone and the tendon above your radial artery, which is situated on the thumb side of your wrist, to check your pulse there.

Count the beats in 15 seconds after you feel your pulse. In order to determine your beats per minute, multiply this number by four.

Remember that numerous factors, such as the following, can affect heart rate:

  1. Age
  2. Levels of activity and fitness
  3. Using tobacco
  4. Having diabetes, high cholesterol, or cardiovascular disease
  5. Ambient temperature
  6. Body placement (standing up or lying down, for example)
  7. Emotions
  8. Body mass index
  9. Medicines

Your resting heart rate may indicate a problem if it deviates from these parameters and becomes excessively high or low.

When your heart rate is particularly high at rest—over 100 bpm—you have tachycardia.

Bradycardia: This condition occurs when your resting heart rate is unusually low, below 60 beats per minute.

However, if you engage in a lot of physical activity, it's crucial to be aware that your resting heart rate may be under 60 beats per minute. Competitive athletes are capable of having resting heart rates of around 40 bpm. But that rate would be alarmingly low for the ordinary person.

The appropriate heart rate range for moderate-intensity exercise is your target heart rate. Exercise that is moderately intense is appropriate since it is intense enough to benefit your heart while not being too demanding on your body.

You can push your heart rate up to about 95% of your maximal heart rate if you want to workout very hard. However, you should use caution to avoid going too high. The possible risks outweigh the benefits if you go too high.

Before beginning an exercise programme, you should consult your healthcare physician if you don't routinely exercise. If you have any health issues, especially issues with your heart, breathing, or circulation, this is extremely crucial. The greatest person to advise you on safe, efficient ways to maintain your level of activity without endangering your general health is your healthcare professional.

What is Pulse Rate?

Now, the heart rate, or the number of times the heart beats each minute, is gauged by the pulse rate. The arteries enlarge and constrict with the flow of blood as the heart pumps blood through them. Taking your pulse can reveal the following in addition to measuring your heart rate:

  • Heart beat
  • Vigour of the heartbeat

Adults in good health should have a pulse of 60 to 100 beats per minute. With activity, disease, injury, and emotions, the pulse rate can change and rise. In general, females have quicker heart rates than males do when they are 12 years old and older. Athletes that engage in extensive cardiovascular conditioning, like runners, may have heart rates close to 40 beats per minute without experiencing any issues.

By firmly pushing on the arteries, which are situated close to the skin's surface at specific spots on the body, you may feel the heartbeats as the heart pushes blood through the arteries. The wrist, the inside of the elbow, or the side of the neck can all be used to feel the pulse. It is most convenient for most people to take their pulse at their wrist. To avoid obstructing blood flow to the brain when using the lower neck, be careful not to push too firmly or simultaneously on the pulses on both sides of the lower neck. As you take your pulse:

  • Press firmly but lightly on the arteries with the first and second fingertips until you feel a pulse.
  • Once the second hand of the clock is on 12, start counting your pulse.
  • 60 seconds of pulse counting (or for 15 seconds and then multiply by four to calculate beats per minute).

When counting, pay attention to the pulsebeats rather than the ticking of the clock. If you're dubious of your results, have someone else tally the numbers for you. If your physician has instructed you to check your own pulse and you are having trouble doing so, speak with your physician or nurse for more guidance. Your heart rate and pulse are related, but they are not the same thing. Your heart rate is the rate at which it beats at any particular moment. You can feel your heart rate by feeling your pulse.

Blood is compressed and propelled through your body's network of arteries each time your heart beats. Your pulse is the temporary increase in artery pressure caused by your heart pumping more blood through your body to maintain circulation. Your heart relaxes between beats, which lowers the pressure once more. Because of this, each heartbeat feels more like a single push than a steady stream of pressure like water flowing through a hose.

The arteries are located quite close to your skin in a number of locations, some of which are easier to feel than others due to physical qualities. The simplest places for you or a medical practitioner to feel your pulse vary depending on the location. Healthcare professionals may also feel for your pulse in other places besides these arteries. Without proper training, finding these locations might be challenging, but they are incredibly useful when a provider is seeking for a specific issue or problem. At rest, a pulse rate of more than 100 beats per minute is regarded as rapid.

Tachycardia, or a rapid heartbeat, can indicate a variety of medical issues. Your heart rate will likely rise while you exercise or when your body is battling an infection. Your volume of blood drops and your heart has to work extra to pump blood throughout your body when you are dehydrated. You might experience palpitations and a quicker heartbeat. The way to control your pulse rate and for many other reasons is to stay hydrated. Men should strive for 8-10 glasses, while women should aim for 6-8 glasses (or 1.6 litres) per day (or 2 litres).

Your pulse rate may fluctuate as a result of some drugs. For instance, certain asthma treatments may increase your heart rate, whereas cardiac medications (such as beta blockers) may decrease it.

In some circumstances, an issue with your heart's electrical conduction system might be the root cause of an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia). Your heart may beat more slowly, more rapidly, or irregularly as a result of this. Arrhythmias vary in severity, and some may be linked to more severe heart diseases.

Now, you can understand whether your heart rhythm is regular or irregular by checking your pulse. The most prevalent heart rhythm disorder, atrial fibrillation, which enhances the risk of stroke, can induce an erratic heartbeat. Plus, other heart rhythm disorders can also cause irregular heartbeats. Even blood clots are generally found to form in the heart of someone with atrial fibrillation, and if one escapes the heart and gets to the brain, it might even cut off the blood flow and result in a stroke. Some drugs that prevent clotting can lower that risk.

Also, you can undertake a self-check at home or ask your doctor to check your heart rhythm.

Main Differences Between Heart Rate and Pulse Rate In Points

Now, let’s look at the main points of differences between heart rate and pulse rate.

  • Frequency or contraction rate of the heart is the heart rate. Heart rate includes all contractions, even those that don't significantly increase blood flow via the arteries. the brief rise in blood pressure that affects all parts of the body.
  • On the other hand, a normal, healthy heart's pulse rate can be utilized to determine its metabolic rate.


Hence, we can say that we gathered enough knowledge about the heart rate and pulse rate. Being highly similar to each other, they still have certain minute differences that we looked at carefully.


  • Laskowski, E. R. (n.d.). What's a normal resting heart rate? Retrieved from MAYO CLINIC: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/heart-rate/faq-20057979
  • Pulse & Heart Rate. (n.d.). Retrieved from Cleveland Clinic: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/17402-pulse--heart-rate
  • What is a normal pulse rate? (2021, May 27). Retrieved from HEART MATTERS: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/medical/ask-the-experts/pulse-rate


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"Difference Between Heart Rate and Pulse Rate." Diffzy.com, 2024. Tue. 27 Feb. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-heart-rate-and-pulse-rate-681>.

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