Your heart rate (or your pulse) is the number of times your heart beats in a given minute. There is no such thing as an “ideal” heart rate because everybody has unique factors that must be taken into consideration. Factors such as weight, height, overall body size, fitness level, and even environmental components can affect what’s considered a “normal” heart rate.

There are two different measurements doctors use for measuring heart rates: resting and active. A resting heart rate refers to your beats-per-minute when your body is not under any stress (such as while sitting down and relaxing). Your active heart rate, on the other hand, measures your beats-per-minute when engaging in physical exercise.

In general, a “healthy” resting heart rate in an adult age 18 or older falls anywhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute.

Heart Rate Considerations for AFib Patients

In patients who have atrial fibrillation, the heart has an irregular beat and tends to “flutter,” which can result in a higher-than-normal resting heart rate. It is not unheard of for AFib patients to have heart rates anywhere from 100 to 175 beats-per-minute. Unfortunately, when the heart rate is that high, your blood pressure may also decrease, which could make you more prone to dizziness, fainting, and other problems such as:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Confusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue

If you have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, you and your doctor will need to develop a treatment and management plan to regulate your heart rate as much as possible. One of the top recommendations for controlling heart rate and rhythm in AFib patients is to use medications with calcium channel blockers and/or beta blockers. These medications are ideal for slowing down an irregular heartbeat, as well as reducing the risk of side effects that often come along with an elevated heart rate. You should discuss these options with your doctor.

Overall, heart rate plays an important role in your health and wellness, especially if you have atrial fibrillation.

If you or a loved one are living with a heart rhythm disorder such as atrial fibrillation, contact Heart Rhythm Consultants. Dr. Dilip Mathew is Board Certified in Cardiology & Cardiac Electrophysiology and has been serving patients in Sarasota and surrounding cities including Port Charlotte, Venice, Tampa and Sun City Center for over a decade.