Many people want to know their blood pressure but may be unable to measure it. There are many reasons for this including not owning a BP monitor or having access to one at a particular time. Since a heart rate can be checked anywhere at any time, many people have wondered, can you calculate blood pressure from heart rate?
Blood pressure cannot be calculated from the heart rate. Knowing the heart rate alone cannot determine what the body’s blood pressure reading is. Calculating blood pressure requires a sphygmomanometer, blood pressure machine or monitor.
This article will dive into the blood pressure and heart rate relationship. I’ll inform you if blood pressure and heart rate moves up and down together or if one can be high and the other low.
Can You Calculate Blood Pressure From Heart Rate?
Knowing the heart rate alone is not enough information to calculate blood pressure. Blood pressure is calculated by using the following:
- Blood pressure machine
- Blood pressure monitor
What is a sphygmomanometer? A sphygmomanometer consists of an inflatable cuff connected to a blood pressure gauge or a column of mercury. Typically it is used by most medical professionals. How is blood pressure measured with a sphygmomanometer?
- An inflatable cuff is wrapped around the upper arm.
- The cuff is inflated to a pressure higher than the systolic blood pressure.
- The inflated cuff stops the blood flow in the brachial artery.
- The pressure in the cuff is released to allow the blood to flow.
- As the cuff deflates, the blood moving through the artery is monitored with a stethoscope (resource).
- The first sound heard through the stethoscope is the systolic blood pressure (the upper blood pressure number).
- The point where this noise goes away is the diastolic blood pressure (the lower blood pressure number).
The heart rate is often checked along with blood pressure and recorded 1.
Is Heart Rate and Blood Pressure Related?
Heart rate and blood pressure can both inform us how well the heart is operating and signal cardiac problems 2. A common question asked is heart rate and blood pressure related?
The relationship between the heart rate and blood pressure can vary depending on the situation 3. They can both increase and decrease at the same time. One can increase while the other one decreases. One can decrease while the other one increases.
Let’s take a look at four different situations.
- Blood pressure and heart rate decrease at the same time.
- Blood pressure and heart rate increase at the same time.
- Blood pressure increases and the heart rate decreases.
- Blood pressure decreases and the heart rate increases.
Let’s take a look at some common questions related to blood pressure and heart rate and when each one may occur 4.
Can you have high blood pressure and a low heart rate? Blood pressure can be high when the heart rate is low. This can be caused by certain medications, brain injury, internal bleeding or thickened heart tissue. This can cause dizziness, fainting, fatigue or shortness of breath.
What does it mean when your blood pressure is low and your pulse is high? Blood pressure can be low and pulse high when dehydrated, bleeding or having a severe infection. Having low blood pressure can increase the heart rate to increase blood flow and pressure.
Can you have high blood pressure and high heart rate? Blood pressure and heart rate can be high when feeling stress, anxiety, anger or while exercising. In addition, it can be caused by an overactive thyroid.
What does low blood pressure and heart rate mean? Low blood pressure and heart rate can occur during a fainting episode, fatigue or feeling of weakness. This can be caused by certain medications, trauma, illness, dehydration or standing up too quickly.
More About Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
Typically, when blood pressure and heart rate fall or rise at the same time they won’t move at the same rate 5.
An example of this is during exercise when the heart rate increases but blood pressure may stay the same or increase to a lesser extent. This happens because even though the heart is beating more times per minute, healthy blood vessels will get larger to allow more blood flow.
The body has mechanisms to alter or maintain blood pressure and blood flow. Sensors located in the artery walls detect blood pressure. The sensors send signals to the heart, arterioles, veins and the kidneys causing them to make changes to blood pressure and the heart rate.
As you can see, blood pressure and heart rate are not always linked and they are two separate measurements and indicators of health 6.
The Difference Between Blood Pressure and Heart Rate
The two are both vital signs but they measure two different things happening inside the body. Therefore, what is the difference between blood pressure and heart rate?
Blood pressure measures the force exerted on the walls of the blood vessels when blood flows through. Heart rate is the number of times a heart beats per minute. Blood pressure is measured with two numbers and the heart rate with one.
As the heart pumps, the arteries expand and contract. This is the pulse and what is felt when taking a pulse 7. The expansion is caused by an increase in blood pressure pushing against the walls of the arteries every time the heart beats.
A normal heart rate varies from person to person. It depends on the individual, age, body size, heart condition and more. Knowing the heart rate can be an important gauge for heart health.
As a person gets older, changes in the heart rate and regularity of the pulse can change. These changes may signify a heart condition or other medical condition needing to be examined.
The heart is responsible for supplying blood to the organs and tissues of the body. To do this, the heart pumps blood into large vessels of the circulatory system every time it beats. The blood pumped into the vessels puts pressure on the walls of the vessels. The pressure is indicated by measuring BP 8.
Blood pressure has two measurements, systolic and diastolic. The systolic number (top number) indicates the pressure on the artery walls when the heart beats. The diastolic number (bottom number) indicates the pressure on the artery walls when the heart is resting between beats.
Read Next – More BP Related Articles!
- CDC: High Blood Pressure
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Relationship between Resting Heart Rate, Blood Pressure and Pulse Pressure in Adolescents
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Blood pressure and heart rate over 10 years in the multimodal treatment study of children with ADHD
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Heart Rate and Blood Pressure: Any possible Implications for Management of Hypertension
- American Heart Association: Blood Pressure vs. Heart Rate (Pulse)
- Harvard Health: Ask the doctor: Does heart rate affect blood pressure?
- Wikipedia: Heart rate
- American Heart Association: What is High Blood Pressure?