Fast Heart Rate: 11 Possible Causes And When To Worry

Date January 16, 2018

Experiencing a fast heart rate can be frightening, especially if you don’t know why it happens. A heart rate depends on many factors. For example, if you are fighting fever, your heart rate can be higher that means your body works to fight the disease. And it is quite normal to have a raised heart rate during exercise. Your emotions and stress also play a role.

However, your heart may beat faster while you are resting, and doctors call this condition tachycardia. People over the age of 60 have a higher risk of developing tachycardia compared with younger adults. Let’s take a detailed look at this rhythm disorder as well as when to take further actions.

What is tachycardia?

Tachycardia develops when your heart starts to work too fast, typically over 100 beats per minute. Depending on its cause, this condition can lead to serious complications. Tachycardia increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death. Fortunately, certain medications and lifestyle changes can help control the heart rate and avoid other heart conditions.

Causes of tachycardia

Many things can result or contribute to fast heart rate. They include the following:

  • damage to heart tissues;
  • heart disease;
  • congenital abnormality of the heart;
  • anemia;
  • exercise;
  • fever;
  • consuming too much alcohol;
  • medicine side effects;
  • smoking;
  • an overactive thyroid gland;
  • drinking too many drinks that contain high levels of caffeine.

Symptoms of tachycardia

When your heart works too fast, it pumps less effectively, and blood flow in your body can be reduced. Your organs and tissues may lack oxygen, and this can result in the following symptoms:

  • shortness of breath;
  • rapid pulse rate;
  • chest pain;
  • lightheadedness;
  • fainting;
  • sudden weakness;
  • low blood pressure.

Some people with tachycardia have no symptoms that’s why it can be useful to check your heart health regularly.

When to visit a doctor

If you experience fast heart rate for no reason, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible. Getting an accurate diagnosis can help avoid severe complications. Treatment options for tachycardia can vary widely, depending on the causes of it, age, and many other factors.

If you or people close to you have difficulty breathing, faint, or experience chest pain more than a few minutes, seek urgent emergency care.

How to prevent tachycardia and other heart conditions

Not all heart problems are preventable, but there are several things you can do to maintain a healthy heart.

  1. Be physically active. When you exercise, you heart beats faster, but doctors say that regular physical activity can slow down the resting heart rate.
  2. Don’t smoke. It is a proven fact that people who smoke have higher heart rates. Quitting this bad habit usually brings it back down.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight. If you have extra pounds, your heart has to work more to supply your body with blood. So, losing weight can help reduce an elevated heart rate.
  4. Deal with stress. Stress can lead to higher heart rate. Try relaxing techniques such as meditations, yoga or tai chi to feel better and keep your heart healthy.

Source: MayoClinic, MedicalNewsToday, Harvard Health

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This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.