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What is the Relationship Between Blood Pressure and Pulse?

Article Details
  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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There is no definitive link between blood pressure and pulse rate. Those with high blood pressure do not appear any more likely to have a fast or irregular pulse unless there are additional medical conditions. Patients who are diagnosed with high blood pressure may be more likely to have heart problems if it is left untreated, but any irregular pulse rhythms are not caused by hypertension itself. Sometimes a prescription medication intended to treat high blood pressure may cause changes in pulse rate. Additionally, those who have underlying conditions may experience a temporary rise in blood pressure when exerting themselves.

Many patients are under the false assumption that blood pressure and pulse rate are linked. Some even believe that they can get an indication of their blood pressure by checking their heart rate. This is false, as one may have a normal pulse rate and still have high blood pressure. Likewise, it is also possible to have an irregular pulse and normal blood pressure. For this reason, it is a good idea to have both blood pressure and pulse rate checked separately at regular intervals.

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There are situations in which blood pressure may rise during times of strenuous physical activity. When exercising, the heart beats faster to pump more blood through the veins in less time so that muscles do not suffer from lack of oxygen. Normally the veins and arteries widen to allow this additional blood to flow effortlessly. Those with plaque buildup, however, may not experience this widening, leading to high blood pressure. This is not true hypertension, as blood pressure levels usually return to normal shortly after the heart rate slows.

This condition of blood pressure rising during activity may be a precursor to hypertension, however, and patients should be evaluated by a doctor if this occurs. Medications can often be given to help reduce plaque buildup in the arteries and to help blood flow more smoothly. Patients may also be monitored to ensure that blood pressure does not begin to stay elevated.

Some medications used to treat hypertension may cause heart rhythms to change, and this should be monitored by a doctor. Many times all that is needed is a change in dosage, although sometimes medications will be changed entirely. Most of the time high blood pressure and pulse rate can both be regulated when the proper medication is found.

It is advised that every individual have his or her blood pressure and pulse rate checked regularly to ensure heart health. While hypertension doesn't cause irregular heart rhythms, certain conditions may cause both conditions to occur at once. Additionally, both may put a person at higher risk of serious heart problems like heart attack. Hypertension generally has no symptoms until it is very progressed, but irregular heart rhythms can cause feelings of dizziness, nausea, and in severe cases, loss of consciousness.

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