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Pulse Counting The

Source: Papers On Health

Most valuable information as to the nature and
progress of disease is derivable from the pulse. Every one should learn
to count it, and to distinguish the broad differences in the rapidity
and nature of the beat. Such a distinction as that between BRONCHITIS
and ASTHMA (see these articles), which require almost directly
opposite treatment, is at once discerned from the pulse. In bronchitis
it beats much too quickly, in asthma it is natural or too slow. In many
cases we have seen asthma, which in cough and spit is very like
bronchitis, treated as bronchitis, with bad results. These would all
have been avoided if the pulse had been intelligently counted. Count
the pulse, if at all possible, for half-a-minute. This multiplied by
two will give the rate per minute, by which it is judged. If this rate
per minute be above 100, there is a good deal of feverish or
inflammatory action somewhere. If below 60, there is considerable lack
of vital power, requiring rest and food to restore it.

In adults the rate for males is from 70 to 75 beats per minute, and for
females 75 to 80. In infants the healthy pulse may be at birth 130 to
140 per minute, diminishing with increase of age. In the case of any
child under five and over one year, if the pulse beats, say, 108 in the
minute, it is too fast. The pulse of an adult may go down as low as 60
or even 50 per minute, but there is then something wrong.

Cooling the head is always safe with high pulse and feverishness, and
often this alone will ward off disease and restore the healthy
condition. If the pulse be low, fomentations to the feet should be
applied, along with cooling action elsewhere, if necessary.

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