Now and then, you have to find your pulse. Your pulse rate represents your heart rate and with these vital signs you will more or less know if your blood pressure is normal, or if your heart is beating at the usual pace. In the absence of a blood pressure monitor or ECG (electrocardiogram) to take note of your heart and blood pressure condition, taking your pulse is the best alternative. Hence if you wake up on the wrong side of the bed one morning and feel weird, dizzy, weak or generally not okay – take your pulse. For all you know – it may indicate something is wrong with you.
To find your pulse, follow these steps:
- Determine the location of major blood vessels. These are large blood vessels which pump and circulate blood all throughout the body. It will be easier to locate these vessels if they extend out to the surface region of the muscles. Do not be misled by visible veins that project through the skin for unless they are main blood vessels, you cannot feel your pulse through them.
- Find the right spot to find your pulse. The most common regions where pulse is situated are found on the wrist and at the side of the neck. The pulse on the wrist is called radial pulse while that on the side of the neck is known as carotid pulse. Usually, it is the carotid pulse that is easier to find than the radial pulse because of the larger blood vessel that is positioned in this area.
- Join your middle finger and index finger together and fold the other fingers in. Use these two fingers in feeling your pulse beat. The reason why these two fingers are used as gauge is because they have the most sensitive sensation among all the other fingers. Furthermore, the other fingers, particularly the thumb kind of beat with their own pulse too. Hence with the thumb you might feel two pulses – that coming from the wrist and another from the thumb, which can be confusing.
- Position your arm on a table such that your palm is facing up. Relax. If you have just finished an activity, rest and settle for a while before taking your pulse beat.
- Rest your two fingers (index and middle) on your wrist. Try to move your fingers around if you have not felt any beating at all. The pulse is commonly found near the outer side of the wrist, known as radial pulse.
- Find your carotid pulse by placing your middle and index fingers on your jaw just below the earlobe. If you find it hard to feel the pulse on one side, do it on the other side.
- Touch your pulse area with just the right amount of pressure. Pressing too much will cut the blood flow thus hampering you from feeling your pulse.
- Count your pulse beat per minute with the aid of your watch. If your pulse count ranges from 60 to 90 per minute, it is considered normal. Lower or higher counts than these numbers mean that you either have slow or fast heart rate.
Finding your pulse is a helpful way of knowing your heart's condition. However do not rely too much on this procedure if you have an existing heart ailment. Unless you are a doctor, do not try to self diagnose. Only a doctor can rightfully declare whether your heart rate is within normal range.