The key difference between pulse and pulse pressure is that pulse is a rhythmic beating in the arteries caused by the beating of the heart while pulse pressure is the difference between systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.
Pulse pressure is an indicator of our heart health. It is the difference between systolic (pressure in the aorta when the heart contracts and ejects blood into the aorta) and diastolic (pressure experienced in the aorta when the heart is relaxing) blood pressures. Normal and healthy pulse pressure is approximately 40 mm Hg. Pulse is the rhythmic contraction and expansion of the arteries with each beat of the heart. It is palpated at the radial artery in the wrist.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Pulse
3. What is Pulse Pressure
4. Similarities Between Pulse and Pulse Pressure
5. Side by Side Comparison – Pulse vs Pulse Pressure in Tabular Form
What is Pulse?
Pulse is a rhythmic beating in the arteries caused by the beating of the heart. The arteries should be stretched in order to allow blood flow. When arteries stretch, skin that is close to an artery pushes up. Then it can be sensed as a pulse by pressuring the skin surface with the index and middle finger. Pulse rate is the number of pulse per minute. Heart rate can be measured from the pulse rate. In fact, pulse per minute is equivalent to measuring the heart rate.
Pulse rate can be measured from anywhere an artery passes close to the skin; for example, wrists, the side of the neck, top of the foot, etc. The most common place is the radial artery on the inside of the wrist. Doctors palpate pulse at the radial artery in the wrist. However, pulse rate varies from person to person.
What is Pulse Pressure?
Pulse pressure is the difference between systolic blood pressure and diastolic pressure. It can be measured as pulse pressure = systolic blood pressure – diastolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure refers to pressure the blood exerts against artery walls when the heart beats while diastolic pressure refers to the pressure that blood exerts against artery walls while the heart is resting between beats. If the systolic blood pressure is 120 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure is 80 mm Hg, the pulse pressure is 40 mm Hg. Pulse pressure tends to increase when ageing.
The normal range of pulse pressure is between 40 mm Hg to 60 mm Hg. If the pulse pressure is lower than the normal pressure, we call it low or narrow pulse pressure. It indicates decreased cardiac output. Generally, patients suffering from heart failure show narrow pulse pressure. It can also be due to some conditions such as blood loss, aortic stenosis, and cardiac tamponade, etc. If the pulse pressure is higher than the normal value, we call it high or widened pulse pressure. It is mainly due to the stiffening of arteries. It can also be due to high blood pressure, aortic regurgitation, aortic sclerosis, arteriosclerosis, iron deficiency anaemia and hyperthyroidism. The risk of heart attack and strokes is high when the pulse pressure is high. Therefore, the pulse pressure is a significant risk factor in the development of heart disease.
Endurance aerobic exercise is one of the most effective ways of maintaining normal pulse pressure by increasing arterial compliance. Moreover, arterial compliance can be increased by increasing estrogen compounds, increasing the consumption of n-3 fatty acids, and decreasing salt intake. Apart from that, regular exercise, limiting smoking and alcohol are also important to maintain your pulse pressure.
What are the Similarities Between Pulse and Pulse Pressure?
- Pulse and pulse pressure are important information related to heart health.
- Both indicate how your heart is working.
What is the Difference Between Pulse and Pulse Pressure?
Pulse refers to a rhythmic dilation of an artery when the heart beats. Pulse pressure refers to the difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressures. Thus, this is the key difference between pulse and pulse pressure.
Furthermore, another difference between pulse and pulse pressure is the unit of measurement. The pulse is measured per minute while pulse pressure is measured in mmHg.
Summary – Pulse vs Pulse Pressure
Pulse it the rhythmic dilation of an artery when the heart beats. Therefore, the pulse rate tells the number of times your heart beats per minute. It can be sensed by pressuring the skin at sites where the arteries travel near the skin’s surface by your index and middle fingertips. On the other hand, the pulse pressure is the difference between systolic and diastolic pressures. Both pulse and pulse pressure are important information regarding heart health. High pulse pressure is associated with a high risk of heart diseases. Thus, this summarizes the difference between pulse and pulse pressure.
1. Seladi-Schulman, Jill. “Pulse Pressure: Calculator, Variation, and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 29 Sept. 2018, Available here.
2. Homan, Travis D. “Physiology, Pulse Pressure.” StatPearls [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 7 June 2020, Available here.