How Are Blood Pressure and Pulse Rate Related?

While blood pressure and pulse rate may increase together, there is no reliable correlation between the two readings, according to the Cleveland Clinic. However, high blood pressure and a high pulse rate are both risk factors for cardiac problems.

When someone's pulse rate increases, healthy blood vessels enlarge to allow the blood to easily circulate throughout the body, explains the American Heart Association. Strenuous exercise could cause a modest rise in blood pressure but easily double the pulse rate.

The target pulse rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute, while optimal blood pressure is 120/80 millimeters of mercury, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Low pulse rate and low blood pressure can indicate that a person is in fantastic physical shape, or, especially in the elderly, it could be a sign of a health problem. A doctor looks for other symptoms, such as fatigue or weakness, and a person's medical history before deciding if his blood pressure and pulse rate are acceptable.

People concerned about their risk for heart disease should measure both their heart rate and blood pressure, states the Cleveland Clinic. However, some patients, such as those diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, should prioritize their heart rate. Other patients may prioritize their blood pressure because it is a better indicator of the risk of developing other types of heart disease.