Difference Between Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

Heart Rate vs Blood Pressure
 

Heart rate and blood pressure are collectively called vital signs. Measuring one vital sign does not indicate a direct relationship to other one. Each measurement describes different information about heart and blood vessels; therefore, it is vital to measure heart rate and blood pressure independently. The accurate measurements of heart rate and blood pressure are important as they define the parameters of a healthy heart and circulatory system. Elevation of heart rate does not always increase blood pressure because, even though the heart rate rises, healthy blood vessels expand and increase their diameter to permit more blood to flow easily.

Heart Rate

Heart rate is defined as the number of pulse or heart beats per unit time, usually expressed as beats per minute (BMP). It depends on many factors such as age of the person, sex, genetics, oxygen demand, exercise, sleep, illnesses, emotions, body temperature, dehydration, medication etc. Usually males have lower rates than females. Heart rate directly influences the cardiac output, volume of blood and circulating speed. Usually, when exercising heart rate increases gradually due to the high oxygen and nutrient demand. A resting healthy person has a heart rate of 60 BPM. But this value may vary widely. Heart rate can be found approximately by counting the pulse either on the wrist over the radial artery or in the neck over the carotid artery. But for accurate readings, ECGs are used. Nerve sensors located in the brain stem and hypothalamus are important for the feedback regulation of heart rate to meet the demands of body cells.

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by blood against the walls of arteries. The units of mmHg (millimeters of mercury) are used to measure blood pressure. Two measurements are used to express blood pressure, namely; systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. The systolic pressure is the pressure exerted by blood against walls of arteries during forceful contraction of the heart, whereas the pressure exerted by the blood against the walls of the arteries during the relaxation phase of the heart is called diastolic blood pressure. The normal healthy individual has a blood pressure of 120/80 mmHg. Here, 120 represent the systolic blood pressure while 80 represent the diastolic blood pressure.

Heart Rate vs Blood Pressure

• Heart beat is the amount of pulse per unit time, whereas blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of arteries.

• Electrocardiograph or ECG is used to measure heart rate while blood pressure is measured using sphygmomanometer.

• ‘mmHg’ unit is used to measure blood pressure while ‘BPMs’ (beats per minute) unit is used to measure heart rate.

• Two measurements are used to measure blood pressure (Systolic and diastolic pressure). Unlike the blood pressure, heart rate is determined by using only one measurement (number of heart beats per minute).

• For example, sample reading of blood pressure is stated as 120/80 mm Hg, whereas heart rate is stated as 60 BMP.