Pulse is an important aspect of your health. Usually it is taken
at a physical and is a way to see if your heart is working correctly.
As quoted from, The American Heritage Student Dictionary pulse is, "The
rhythmical expansion and contraction of the arteries as blood is pumped
through them by the beating of the heart." The arteries stretch as
the heart contracts and propel about 30-60 grams (2-4 oz.) of blood everywhere
around the body. Your arteries pass over solid structures such as
bones or cartilage. If you press gently on one of these areas you
will feel a faint beating called your pulse. Your pulse can be felt
in a number of places. A few of these places are, your wrist (radial
pulse) which is a very common area to have your pulse taken, along you
trachea (windpipe), which is you carotid pulse, and your brachial pulse
which is taken on the inside of your elbow.
Usual Pulse Rates of Various Age and Gender Groups
Age also affects your pulse. The usual pulse rate for a baby embryo
is 150 b.p.m. (beats per minute). The average pulse rate of an infant140
b.p.m and 90 b.p.m in seven years old. A man from 30-40 years old
usually has a pulse rate of approximately 72 b.p.m; this differs from 76-80
b.p.m for a woman of the same age. Elderly people have the lowest
of the other age groups, which is around 50-65 b.p.m. Women usually
have higher pulse rates that men. Another difference among pulse
rates is physical activity. Exercising, such as playing sports, speed you
pulse rate up and almost double the speed of your heart. "Athletes"
hearts beat slower because they donít need to pump as much to get the same
amount of blood flowing.
What Happens Each Time You Feel Your Pulse
Your blood rushes through your veins every time that your heart contracts
and expands. When the blood travels through your pulmonary arteries
the walls of the arteries expand and contract just like your heart.
If you press down gently (pressing too hard can cause your circulation
to cut off) with two fingers (but not your thumb; it has a pulse of its
own) over an area where a vein passes over a bone or some cartilage is
you will feel pulsing motion which is your pulse rate. 15 seconds
of your pulse multiplied by four is your total b.p.m.
The heart is a muscular organ that receives and propels blood through
arteries. The heart is about the size of a closed fist and is held
by arteries and veins. The heart consists of two atriums and two
ventricles. In one expansion and contraction blood returns to the
top atrium by two large veins (the superior and inferior venae caveae)
which drains into the bottom atrium by the coronary sinus. Diastole
is the process of blood going to the top ventricle during the relaxation
part of the cycle. The contraction of the heart propels blood into
the aorta and then to all areas of the body. The rate of the heart
is controlled by automatic nervous system. This produces two sounds.
One is a dull sound, which is caused by the vibration of the atrio-ventrical
valves, and the other is a sharp sound, which is produced by the closing
200,000 adults die of heart related diseases every year. There
and many different types of heart diseases, one of which is rheumatic heart
disease. Rheumatic heart disease is usually followed after rheumatic
fever attacks. This type of heart disease usually strikes in children.
Another type of heart disease is Myocarditis, which is the inflammation
or degeneration of the heart muscle. There is a major form of heart
disease which is called athersclerosis. This condition usually strikes
in the western countries. A fatty deposit called plaque builds up
in the coronary arteries and causes them to close up which slows the blood
flow to the heart. Fatty plaque is partly caused by too much cholesterol
and animal fats in a persons diet. Stress, high blood pressure, and
cigarette smoking can also heighten the risk of heart attacks.
Pulse is the rhythmic pulsating of your veins which can be felt while
you press down on an area that a vein passes over a hard area such as bone
or cartilage. Many things effect your pulse such as gender, age,
your diet, and drugs. Problems with your heart can arise and this can be
shown by you pulse.
Gardner, Robert Science Projects about the Human Body Springfield, New
Jersey; Enslow Publishers Inc. 1993
Gupta, Amit K. "Pulse Rate" [Online] available at http://software.bu.edu/cohis/cardvasc/testing/pulse.html
"Heart" Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia Deluxe Edition, 1998
"Pulse" Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe 99 1999
Sabaino, Dominick "Pulse" World Book Encyclopedia 1995
Silverstein, Alvin Dr., et al, The Circulatory System Canada; Fitzhenrey
and Whiteside Ltd.
"Taking a Pulse" http://medicine.wustl.edu/~ysp/MSN/experiments/archive/857361537.bi.html
March 2nd, 1997