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Normal Pulse and Heart Rate in Adults: What Should It Be?

Normal Pulse and Heart Rate in Adults: What Should It Be?

Being informed about the normal pulse and heart rate in adults is important when it comes to a person’s health. This is because having a normal heart rate means that the heart is pumping properly and without any problems. But what should a person’s normal heart rate be? And does having a very high or low heart rate mean that you might have problems?

Are You at Risk for Heart Arrhythmias?

Normal pulse and heart rate in adults

For healthy adults, their normal pulse and heart rate should be around 60 to 100 beats per minute. This is measured when a person is at rest, because certain situations such as physical activity, can affect a person’s heart rate.

Having a lower heart rate than normal can be the sign of a healthy heart. This means that the heart is working efficiently to pump blood throughout the body. In fact, professional athletes usually have a resting heart rate that’s about 40 beats per minute.

On the other hand, if your resting heart rate is higher than 100 beats per minute, then it could mean that you have tachycardia, or a fast heartbeat. In some cases, this should not be a cause for concern, but it could also be a sign that there might be a problem with your heart.

Having a regular heart rate is also important

Another important aspect of a person’s heart health is having a regular heart rhythm. This means that a healthy heart should beat at a constant rate and only changes when the heart rate goes up or goes down.

If a person’s heart rhythm is inconsistent or not regular, then that person is said to have arrhythmia. Arrhythmia can be caused by a number of things, such as having been born with a heart defect. In some cases, it could mean that either the upper or lower chambers of the heart have problems.

Having arrhythmia can mean that the heart is not pumping blood efficiently throughout the body. This can result in insufficient blood flow to certain organs, and can even lead to cardiac arrest if left untreated.

normal pulse and heart rate in adults

When should you worry?

Of course, the most obvious symptoms of tachycardia or arrhythmia is having a very fast or an irregular heartbeat. However, there are also other symptoms that could be a sign that you might have either of these conditions. Here are some of the symptoms to watch out for:

Shortness of breath

Experiencing shortness of breath could mean that your heart is not efficiently pumping blood throughout your body. This can be a symptom of either tachycardia or arrhythmia.

Shortness of breath can happen because your heart is not maintaining a normal pulse and heart rate, and thus not pumping enough blood to supply all of your organs. This means that they are starved for oxygen, and you start to experience shortness of breath as a result.

Chest pain

Chest pain can sometimes be a sign that there could be a problem with your heart. This happens because your heart might also be starved for oxygen because it could either be beating too fast, or is beating at an inconsistent rhythm.

In some cases, strong emotions, such as anxiety, fear, or stress can also force your heart to deviate from the normal pulse and heart rate and cause chest pain. Regardless, it would be a good idea to talk to your doctor about it to rule out any possible problems.


Dizziness can occur in people with either tachycardia or arrhythmia. Similar to shortness of breath, dizziness can occur because the heart is not pumping enough blood throughout the body.

And just like the rest of your organs, the brain needs fresh oxygenated blood in order to function properly. If there’s not enough fresh blood going to the brain, then a person can experience dizziness and lightheadedness.


Lastly, fatigue is another symptom common in both tachycardia and arrhythmia. Just like the previous symptoms, it also has something to do with a lack of oxygenated blood going to the body’s organs.

This can make a person feel tired or fatigued even if they have had enough rest.

Key Takeaways

Being aware of the normal pulse and heart rate in adults (as well as the symptoms of tachycardia and arrhythmia) is important because these conditions can lead to more serious complications if left untreated. Listening to what your body is trying to tell you can potentially save your life.

Learn more about Heart Health here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Heart rate: What’s normal? – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/heart-rate/faq-20057979#:~:text=A%20normal%20resting%20heart%20rate%20for%20adults%20ranges%20from%2060,to%2040%20beats%20per%20minute., Accessed November 30, 2020

Pulse & Heart Rate, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/17402-pulse–heart-rate, Accessed November 30, 2020

Heart arrhythmia – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-arrhythmia/symptoms-causes/syc-20350668, Accessed November 30, 2020

4 reasons behind an irregular heartbeat| Geisinger, https://www.geisinger.org/health-and-wellness/wellness-articles/2018/02/09/16/06/4-reasons-behind-an-irregular-heartbeat, Accessed November 30, 2020

Heart Arrhythmia: Causes, symptoms, treatment, https://www.marshfieldclinic.org/specialties/heart-care/arrhythmia, Accessed November 30, 2020

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Jun 10
Medically reviewed by Elfred Landas, M.D.