Heart Rhythm Week: What’s it all about?

Heart Rhythm Week: What’s it all about?

Jenny Brannan
Posted by Jenny Brannan

Date: Thursday, 08 June 2017. -  
Blog, First Aid

Heart Rhythm Week is an annual event hosted by the UK-based charity, Arrhythmia Alliance and aims to raise awareness about arrhythmias and how they can affect people’s lives. 

Since 2004, Heart Rhythm Week has spread across the globe, helping people to gain an understanding about arrhythmias in general, sudden cardiac death and their pulse and what different heart rates can indicate.

From pulse checks all the way in Australia to an arrhythmia awareness bus in India, Heart Rhythm Week aims to ensure that as many people as possible gain an understanding and can then go on to help raise awareness, themselves.  

This year, Arrhythmia Alliance are focusing on ‘Identifying the Undiagnosed Person’. They aim to make 1 million people aware of their pulse, take 10,000 pulse checks which will help them further identify 1,000 people who experience an irregular heart rhythm.

To honour Heart Rhythm Week, we cover how you can get involved, take your pulse and what you should do if you feel concerned about your findings.

Take Your Pulse

Think only your doctor can take your pulse? Think again! Taking your pulse couldn’t be simpler. To help you along, so you can get involved with knowing your pulse for Heart Rhythm Week, we’ve provided you with a step by step guide to finding your pulse in your wrist:

  1. Hold out one of your hands, it doesn’t matter which one, with your palm facing up and your elbow slightly bent.
  2. Place your index and middle finger of your other hand on the inside of your wrist, just at the base of your thumb
  3. Apply pressure to the skin until you can feel a beat – this is your pulse. If you can’t feel anything, simply apply more pressure or move your fingers around slightly, until you feel your pulse.

Another popular area to take your pulse is your neck. Again, apply the two same fingers on either side of the neck in the soft, hollow area at the side of your windpipe. This will also indicate your pulse.

To measure your resting heart rate, simply count the beats when taking your pulse for 1 minute. This will provide you with your resting heart rate. A regular resting heart rate for an adult is anywhere between 60 – 100 beats per minute, but remember, this can fluctuate up and down, depending on what you have been doing prior to the reading.

What to do if You're Concerned 

If you take your pulse and find that you have an irregular pulse, i.e. your pulse rate is too low, too high or in an irregular pattern, then it is vital that you go and speak to your doctor.

The occasional missed beat is usually not a cause for concern, but if this is present for a continued length of time, then it could be a sign of Atrial Fibrillation – a heart condition that causes the heart to beat irregularly and often abnormally fast too.

Pulse checking can also highlight symptoms of other arrhythmias, such as Bradycardia - where the heart beats at a rate lower than 60 beats per minute - and Ventricular Tachycardia – where the heart beats at a rate higher than 100 beats per minute for more than three beats in a row.

If you feel concerned or think you are experiencing an irregular heart rate, then visiting your doctor can help determine whether or not it is cause for concern and what treatment should be administered. A simple visit to the GP, in some circumstances, could save a life.

Get Involved

Getting involved with Heart Rhythm Week couldn’t be easier, just take your pulse to ensure your ol’ ticker is working and beating exactly how it should be.

Have you already got involved by taking your pulse? If so, head on over to our Twitter @imptraining and let us know you’ve taken the ‘Pulse Check Challenge’! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #HeartRhythmWeek.