A pulse oximeter is a small, lightweight, portable device used to measure the amount of oxygen being carried into the body cells. This noninvasive device is usually attached to the fingertip and works by sending wavelength of light via the finger to measure your oxygen saturation levels and your pulse rate. Once the pulse oximeter completes its calculation, it displays the percentage of blood coming out of your heart and your current pulse rate on the LCD display. But have you ever wondered what does PR BPM mean on a pulse oximeter? In not then today, you are in the right place. In this article, we are going to discuss what this term means to help you understand your best pulse oximeter reading better.
What Does a Pulse Rate (PR) Mean?
Also known as heart rate, pulse rate is the number of times an individual heartbeat per minute. Pulse rate varies from one individual to another, but according to Mayo Clinic, the standard pulse rate for adults is between 60-100 beats per minute (BPM).
Beats per minute usually depend on a person’s body size, age, heart condition, medication being used, air temperatures, and whether an individual is moving or sitting. Furthermore, emotions can affect your pulse rate. For instance, when an individual is scared or excited, the pulse rate also increases. Your fitness level also determines your pulse rate. Research conducted by the American Heart Association revealed that a well-trained athlete could have a resting pulse rate of 40-60 beats per minute.
Generally, a lower pulse rate indicates that an individual has better cardiovascular fitness and a more efficient heart function. However, to some people, a pulse rate of below 60 beats per minute indicates that an individual is suffering from a condition known as bradycardia (slow heart rate) and can cause several symptoms, including chest pains, fainting, memory problems, and fatigue.
A fingertip pulse oximeter usually measures your pulse rate and the level of oxygen in your blood and gives accurate results within 10 seconds. This is important because it enables you to take action fast in case your pulse rate or blood oxygen level is below the recommended levels. However, it is essential to note that pulse rate and blood oxygen saturation level (SpO2) measure that is outside the normal range does not necessarily mean that you have a problem. For instance, your heart rate is expected to increase, and your oxygen saturation level decreases when you are engaging in intense physical activity. However, it should not fall below 90%.
How to Measure Pulse Rate?
According to the American Heart Association guidelines, the best places to measure your pulse rate include:
- Top of the foot
- Your wrist
- Inside of your neck
- Inside your elbow
What is the Difference Between the Target Pulse Rate and the Maximum Pulse Rate?
Target heart rate ranges between 50%-85% of your maximum heart. Your body benefits more and risks less while working within your target heart rate. A maximum heart, on the other hand, refers to the highest pulse rate that you can ever get. It is usually calculated by subtracting your age from 220. For instance, if you are aged 40, then your maximum heart rate is 180.
Pulse Rate and Blood Pressure, What is the Difference?
Most people usually use these two words interchangeably, thinking that it means the same thing. However, blood pressure is different from the pulse rate. Blood pressure refers to the measurement of blood force against artery walls while pulse rate refers to the number of if times your heart beats in a single minute. It is important to note that there is no direct link between these two terms. High blood pressure does not necessarily cause an elevated heart rate and vice versa. Pulse rate usually goes up when you are excited or when doing strenuous activities, but that is not always the case with high blood pressure.
We hope that you now understand what pulse rate (PR) means. A pulse oximeter helps you monitor your pulse and indicates if it is falling below the average level. If you are under medication that affects your pulse rate if you are participating in sports, and you want to monitor your pulses rate, then it is crucial to purchase a Portable pulse oximeter.
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