Ordinarily, the pulse-rate when the body is upright is rather faster than when lying down. An average figure for many people is about 70 pulses per minute, standing upright. After lying down for one or two minutes, the rate usually drops by about 8 per minute � that is, to the low sixties. Where the upright rate is higher � say about , 80 � the reduction in rate might be expected to be about 12, to the upper sixties. A pulse-rate� upright and not immediately after exertion � of over 80 suggests a heart which is being somewhat unfairly taxed by the body's demands. After real exertion, especially involving some nervous tension, much higher figures are to be expected.
Even in everyday circumstances, rates in the region of 150 per minute may occur for short spells, without serious implication. The important proviso here is that as soon as the special effort is complete the rate should start to drop, and be back virtually to normal within a few minutes.
A slow pulse may, as we have already noted, result from distress in the alimentary system. Otherwise, a slow rate is usually associated with good physical reserves � as in a well-trained athlete. Anyone who is capable of a sustained high output of physical effort, and produces it regularly, almost automatically develops an above-average cardiac capacity. That is, a single pulse produces as much effective circulation as one and a half or two pulses of a non-athlete's heart. 45 to 50 beats per minute are thus ample for the body's resting needs, and quite heavy effort may be sustained at a rate no higher than that of a resting non-athlete.
Slow pulse, however, is rarely responsible for any concern on the patient's part; it is the rapid beat which produces anxiety. Tachycardia is the term applied to a rate greater than about 90 per minute, and a continuing high rate is almost always a sign of serious strain. The neurotic patient may, indeed, intensify such a condition by obsessive interest. To the more objective patient, tachycardia indicates the need for effective reform in the way of living.
Cardio & Blood