The pulse is the number of times a heart beats in a minute. This measurement is considered vital because it gives so much information about heart function. There is a range of beats per minute that is considered normal, and it differs depending on age.
Measuring the Pulse
The pulse rate is usually the same as the heart rate. It is easy to measure and can be felt at various points on the body. Two of the most common areas are the side of the neck and the wrist. Put pressure on the point where the pulse is felt and count for a minute. If you count for less than a minute, multiply to make a minute. For example, if you count for 10 seconds, multiply the number you obtain by six to find the result for 60 seconds.
What the Pulse Tells Us
A fast heart rate (tachycardia) can signify an infection, dehydration or even heart attack. Bradycardia, or slow pulse, might signify the heart is having trouble pumping. If there is no pulse, the heart has stopped working--and this signifies the need for emergency measures.
Other Types of Pulses
The pulse, if abnormal, should be noted. For instance, a bounding pulse is one that is very firm and continues for more than a few moments. An irregular pulse is one that does not maintain a consistent beat. These findings should be shared with your physician immediately. If a pulse is hard to find, this should also be discussed with a physician.
Normal Heart Rate in 13-year-olds
A 13-year-old should have a heart rate between 60 to 100 beats per minute when resting. To take a resting pulse, there should be no physical activity for at least 10 minutes before taking the measurement. If it is lower or higher than this, you should discuss this with his physician.
If your 13-year-old's pulse falls outside of the normal range and all other signs are that she is healthy, it simply might be situational. For example, she might be thirsty, tired or anxious. Take the pulse more than one time and in different settings to determine more accurately if there is cause for concern. Always schedule regular check-ups with the teen's health-care provider to maintain a record of heart rate. This will help to determine if the pulse rate is a significant change from normal functioning.