What Causes A Fluctuating Heart Rate on Oximeter?

What Causes A Fluctuating Heart Rate?

Jun 15, 2023

Are you facing the problem of fluctuating heart rate? Do you want to learn the causes of a fluctuating heart rate? You're at the right place.

Fluctuating heart rate or arrhythmia is an "abnormal heart rhythm." About 1.5 to 5% of adults in the USA have heart arrhythmias. [1] Most of the time, fluctuating heart rate produces no symptoms, and it goes untreated.

Today, we will discuss different causes of fluctuating heart rates, their treatment and measurement.  

Normal Heart Rate (HR) 

A normal heart rate is simply "the number of times your heart beats in one minute."

For adults, a normal HR typically ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute (bpm). It's important to note that this range can differ depending on factors such as your sex, age, and overall physical fitness. [2]

Fluctuating heart rate means the HR below 60 bpm (bradyarrhythmia) or greater than 100 bpm (tachyarrhythmia). While occasional fluctuations are normal, persistent or extreme variations in heart rate should not be ignored and may require medical attention.

Major symptoms of Fluctuating HR are dizziness, palpitations, shortness of breath, sweating, fainting, and sometimes chest pain.

Causes of a Fluctuating Heart Rate

Here are the potential causes for a fluctuating heart rate:

1. Physical activity:

When you do any physically demanding activity, such as walking or exercising, your heart rate increases automatically.

This is your body's normal and healthy response to meet the increased oxygen demand of your body during exercise.

2. Emotional stress: 

Strong emotions such as anxiety, fear, anger, or excitement can change your heart rate.

During these emotional changes, your body's natural "fight-or-flight" response triggers the release of adrenaline hormone in your blood. This hormone causes an increase in your heart rate as part of the physiological stress response.

3. Breathing:

Your heart rate changes with your breathing pattern. So any cause that disrupts your respiratory cycle and changes your breathing rate can also change your heart rate. 

4. Sleep disturbances:

Sleep apnea, a condition characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep, can fluctuate a normal heart rate. 

5. Fever or infection:

During an illness or infection, your body's immune response can raise heart rates.

6. Dehydration:

When your body is dehydrated, it can affect your heart rate. In an effort to compensate for the decreased fluid volume, your heart may beat faster.

7. Medications and substances:

Following drugs can also fluctuate your heart rate:


●Stimulant drugs

● Caffeine


8. Medical conditions:

Various medical conditions can cause a fluctuating heart rate. These include:

●Heart problems

●Electrolyte imbalances

●An overactive or underactive thyroid

●Anemia (low hemoglobin)


●High blood pressure

How To Treat A Fluctuating Heart Rate?

In most cases, an irregular heart rate, whether too fast or too slow, tends to become normal.

●However, if the fluctuation is due to any underlying condition, you should get that condition treated. For instance, if you have a malfunctioning thyroid or anemia, take the prescribed medicine, and your irregular heart rate will be fixed. 

Arrhythmias, on the other hand, are more complex and necessitate a comprehensive evaluation by a cardiologist. Lifestyle adjustments or medications are often effective in managing heart arrhythmias.

The American Heart Association (AHA) says that chest pain accompanied by sweating and nausea is alarming and could indicate a heart attack. Feeling weak, dizzy, or lightheaded are other warning signs that should not be ignored. [3] 


Seek medical assistance right away if you experience certain symptoms above your endurance level:
● Chest pain
● Palpitations even at rest
● Shortness of breath

Best Method to Measure Your HR

To measure your heart rate, place two fingers over your pulse at your wrist, on the side of your neck, inner side of your elbow, or on top of your foot. Now start counting the beats you feel for 60seconds. That will give you your heart rate per minute.

Shortcut Method:

You can count your pulse beats within 15 seconds and whatever the answer is, multiply it by four. In this way, you'll have your heart rate per minute. 

Precautions for measuring heart rate:

For the most accurate measurement of your resting heart rate, it is recommended to follow these tips provided by Harvard Health Publishing:

1.Allow at least two hours after exercising or experiencing a stressful event.

2.Wait for at least an hour after taking caffeine.

3.Avoid measuring your heart rate after sitting or standing for an extended period.

Measure your Heart rate with our Pulse Oximeter:

Introducing our Fingertip Oxygen Monitor, a cutting-edge device that provides high-precision and reliable readings.

This device shows readings for your:

●Heart rate

●Oxygen level in blood

●Pulse waveform

●Perfusion index

For added convenience and safety, the monitor features a warning function that alerts you with a buzzer and flashing screen if your readings fall below or exceed the preset threshold.

Whether in spot-check or continuous mode, the pulse rhythm analysis results are displayed after just 30 seconds of stable measurement. 

Takeaway Message

In conclusion, a fluctuating heart rate can be attributed to various factors, both physiological and lifestyle-related. For proper management and care, understanding the underlying cause is essential. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, stress management techniques, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can contribute to a more stable heart rate.

For improved heart health and overall well-being, it is essential to get accurately diagnosed by a healthcare professional.


1.Lakshminarayan, K., Anderson, D. C., Herzog, C. A., & Qureshi, A. I. (2008). Clinical epidemiology of atrial fibrillation and related cerebrovascular events in the United States. The neurologist, 14(3), 143–150. 

2.Mason, J. W., Ramseth, D. J., Chanter, D. O., Moon, T. E., Goodman, D. B., & Mendzelevski, B. (2007). Electrocardiographic reference ranges derived from 79,743 ambulatory subjects. Journal of electrocardiology, 40(3), 228–234. 

3.Warning signs of a heart attack. www.heart.org. (2023, March 21). 


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