pulse


pulse
pulse1
/puls/, n., v., pulsed, pulsing.
n.
1. the regular throbbing of the arteries, caused by the successive contractions of the heart, esp. as may be felt at an artery, as at the wrist.
2. a single pulsation, or beat or throb, of the arteries or heart.
3. the rhythmic recurrence of strokes, vibrations, or undulations.
4. a single stroke, vibration, or undulation.
5. Elect. a momentary, sudden fluctuation in an electrical quantity, as in voltage or current.
6. Physics. a single, abrupt emission of particles or radiation.
7. a throb of life, emotion, etc.
8. vitality.
9. the general attitude, sentiment, preference, etc., as of the public.
v.i.
10. to beat or throb; pulsate.
11. to beat, vibrate, or undulate.
12. Physics. to emit particles or radiation periodically in short bursts.
v.t.
13. to cause to pulse.
14. Med. to administer (medication) in interrupted, often concentrated dosages to avoid unwanted side effects.
[1300-50; < L pulsus a beat, equiv. to *peld-, base of pellere to set in motion by beating or striking (cf. IMPEL) + -tus, suffix of v. action, with dt < s and backing and raising of e before velar l; r. ME pous < MF < L, as above]
pulse2
/puls/, n.
1. the edible seeds of certain leguminous plants, as peas, beans, or lentils.
2. a plant producing such seeds.
[1250-1300; ME puls < L: thick pap of meal, pulse. See POULTICE]

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Pressure wave in the arteries from contraction of the heart.

It can be felt where arteries are near the skin's surface; it is usually read at the carotid artery in the neck or at the wrist. Its rate, strength, and rhythm and the contour of the wave provide valuable information but must be viewed in context (e.g., rapid pulse occurs with serious heart disease, simple fever, or vigorous exercise). The average adult pulse rate is 70–80 beats per minute; the rate decreases with age and is generally faster in women.

* * *

      rhythmic dilation of an artery generated by the opening and closing of the aortic valve in the heart. A pulse can be felt by applying firm fingertip pressure to the skin at sites where the arteries travel near the skin's surface; it is more evident when surrounding muscles are relaxed. Common pulse points include the carotid artery of the neck, the brachial artery inside the elbow, and the radial artery in the wrist.

      The association of pulse with the action of the heart was recognized by the ancient Egyptians, and it remains a valuable indicator of cardiac function in modern medicine. Pulse rate, strength, and rhythm all provide valuable diagnostic information; for example, the regular alteration between strong and weak pulses can indicate heart failure. A rapid pulse may indicate serious cardiac disease (cardiovascular disease), a relatively innocuous fever, or simply vigorous exercise; a slow pulse may be a result of head injury, but it is also normal in highly trained athletes with exceptional heart function.

      Pulse rates vary from person to person. The normal pulse rate of an adult at rest may range from 50 to 85 beats per minute, although the average rate is about 70 to 72 for men and 78 to 82 for women. In infants the rate ranges from 110 to 140; the rate decreases with age, and the rate for adolescents is 80 to 90; the normal rate for the elderly may be 50 to 70.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

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