Glossary of Medical Terms

Pulse (Heart Rate)

Pulse is the regular expansion of the arteries caused by the surge of blood that occurs each time the heart beats (contracts). It can be felt by gently pressing the fingers on certain blood vessels that are close to the skin's surface.

Pulse is also called heart rate, which is the number of times the heart beats per minute (bpm). Some people like to check their pulse before, during, and/or after they exercise. The wrist and neck are common places to take a pulse.

Doctors usually check a person's pulse at checkups or in an emergency. A weak pulse or a change in pulse rate or rhythm may be a sign of heart disease or other problem. 

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