Blood Pressure Versus Heart Rate (Pulse)

nurse checking a patient's blood pressure

What's the difference between blood pressure and pulse?

In discussions about high blood pressure, you will often see heart rate mentioned in relation to exercise. While your blood pressure is the force of your blood on blood vessel walls while moving through your vessels, your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute.

  • They are two separate measurements and indicators of health.
  • For people with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, there’s no substitute for measuring blood pressure.

Heart rate, blood pressure and exercise

Your target heart rate is based on age and can help you monitor the intensity of your exercise.

  • If you measure your heart rate (take your pulse) before, during and after physical activity, you’ll notice it will increase over the course of the exercise. This is to pump more blood to deliver oxygen to your working muscles.
  • Along with the increase in heart rate your diastolic blood pressure will also rise.
  • The greater the intensity of the exercise, the more your heart rate will increase.
  • When you stop exercising, your heart rate does not immediately return to your normal resting heart rate.
  • The more fit you are, the sooner your heart rate is expected to return to normal.

See how HBP damages heart