Pulse Counting The

Sources: 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.