What is the average human heart rate

Is a resting heart rate of 90 beats per minute normal?

PD Dr. med. Richard Kobza, Chief Physician Cardiology, Heart Center

Our heart pumps blood around the body and supplies organs, tissues and cells with oxygen and nutrients. The resting heart rate indicates how often the heart beats per minute at rest. In a healthy heart, the organism regulates the resting heart rate in such a way that the body is adequately supplied with blood when it is at rest. As soon as you move, your pulse rises too, as the body then has to pump more blood into the working muscles.

On average, the resting heart rate of a healthy adult is 60 to 90 beats per minute, we speak of normal sinus rhythm. In highly trained endurance athletes, the resting heart rate is significantly lower. With them, the heart may only beat 35 to 50 times a minute. Reason: The heart of an athlete is able to pump more blood through the body with one heartbeat than a little trained heart.

Many different factors can influence the resting heart rate, for example pain, hormones, infections, stress and stimulants such as caffeine or nicotine. Pregnant women also have a higher heart rate. This is necessary for them so that the baby can be supplied with sufficient blood.

In fact, in mammals there is an "inverse relationship" between heart rate and life expectancy. On the other hand, the question of whether human life can be prolonged by slowing the heart rate remains controversial. With a resting heart rate of 85 to 90 as you describe it, there is no increased risk.

EKG can provide information

If the heart rate is over 100 / min. let's talk about a fast heartbeat, a tachycardia. Tachycardia is physiological, i.e. normal, if it is a response to exercise or emotional distress. A tachycardia can also be caused by a misdirection or by incorrect impulses in the heart, in which case we speak of a cardiac arrhythmia. These can lead to an increased resting heart rate. Usually these are cardiac arrhythmias that have their origin in the atrium of the heart, such as atrial fibrillation. Then the resting heart rate is rather irregular.

Basically, I recommend registering an EKG with your family doctor so that you are sure that you are dealing with a normal sinus rhythm and not a cardiac arrhythmia. Occasionally, a long-term ECG is needed in order to be able to assess the heart rhythm more precisely.

Better exercise than medication

If the resting ECG shows a normal sinus rhythm, then I would not take any medication to influence the resting heart rate. On the other hand, regular exercise can be recommended; regular training can lead to a lowering of the resting heart rate. If the ECG shows a rhythm disturbance, this can be treated with cardiac arrhythmia drugs. Today, however, we can treat most cardiac arrhythmias using catheter ablation in such a way that it is not absolutely necessary to take medication afterwards. Your family doctor can advise you here.