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What Is a Normal Pulse Rate for Women?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 10 March 2014
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Determining a "normal" pulse rate for women is virtually impossible, because every woman is different. Instead, doctors have determined a normal pulse range for both men and women. Women on average have higher pulses than men because they are usually smaller in build. Of course, a very tall woman could have a much lower pulse than a man of less than average height, so there is variance between genders and women of different build and stature.

In general, the normal pulse rate for women is between 60-100 beats per minute and this is also normal for men. As already mentioned, the average pulse rate for women might fall slightly higher in this range than men’s rates do. Different circumstances will affect the pulse rate, so it matters when a pulse is taken.

The resting rate is generally at its lowest after several hours of sleep and before rising out of bed, but pulse rate may go up during the day in correspondence to activity level. This means it’s not impossible for a woman to begin the day with a pulse of 60 and end the day with one of 100, especially if a lot of exertion occurs right at the day’s end. Throughout the day, fluctuations in normal pulse rate for women are expected, and rate may increase or decrease.

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Usual level of activity and fitness may have some effect on whether the normal pulse rate for a woman is an accurate range. Those who are extremely physical fit often have a resting heart rate lower than 60 beats per minute. In these instances, a healthy woman's pulse can easily be as low as 40-50 at beginning of day. If there are health problems and a person is not physically fit, such a low pulse could be evidence of conditions like heart block, which needs medical observation.

There are also reasons why a normal pulse rate for women would exceed 100 beats per minute. When women are pregnant, they often have a higher heart beat, and smaller women with higher rates to start could have a normal pulse reading over 100 beats. During any form of aerobic activity, heart rate is expected to climb too, and women are often encouraged to work out at a percentage of their maximum heart rate, which usually well exceeds 100 beats per minute.

Just as with exceptionally low pulse readings, a high pulse, when no exceptional circumstances exist, or when no exercise is occurring, may be a danger sign. Some people have very fast arrhythmias that occur occasionally, and they might judge whether one is occurring by taking the pulse. Sometimes the heart just appears to race and this can be a sign of numerous illnesses or of conditions like panic disorder. In any case, if there is little explanation for a very slow or fast pulse rate that is well outside normal pulse rate for women or adults in general, a physician’s guidance should be sought.

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