The pulse rate, also called your heart rate, is the number of times the heartbeats per minute (BPM).
Your pulse can be felt on your:
- Inside of the elbow
- Side of the neck
- Top of the foot
Place your finger (not your thumb) over your pulse and count the number of beats in 60 seconds to get your heart rate.
According to the American Heart Association, a normal adult resting heart rate is between 60 beats per minute (BPM) and 100 BPM for people 15 years and older. A resting pulse rate of 120 BPM in adults would be considered high.
What Are Normal Pulse Rates by Age?
Normal pulse rates (heart rates) by age are as follows:
|Age range||Pulse Rate/Heart Rate (beats per minute, or BPM)|
|15 years and older||60-100|
When Should I Worry About a 120 Pulse Rate?
Common everyday causes of a fast heart beat that may not always be a cause for concern may include:
- Vigorous exercise
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
- Too much alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine
- Illegal drugs such as ecstasy, methamphetamines, or cocaine
Serious conditions that can cause a fast heart beat include:
- Heart failure
- A past heart attack
- Coronary artery disease (CAD)
- Problems with the heart’s valves or muscles
- Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias), including atrial fibrillation (AFib)
Call 911 or get to a hospital’s emergency department (do not drive yourself) if you have an unusually fast heart rate accompanied by symptoms such as:
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