By Medicover Hospitals / 08 Mar 2021
A fast heartbeat may be regular or irregular, but which is out of proportion with age and level of exertion or activity. A rapid heart rate can have causes that are not because of an underlying disease. Examples include exercise, fear, anxiety, stress, anger, or love.
- What is Rapid Heartbeat?
- When to visit a Doctor?
What is Rapid Heartbeat?
A rapid heartbeat, or tachycardia, is a condition in which the heart beats over 100 beats per minute for an adult. A rapid heartbeat may be normal or the result of an illness, disorder, or other harmful condition.
The heart pumps blood to the lungs and the rest of the body by contracting its four chambers. Both upper chambers are the atria, and both lower chambers are the ventricles. The sinus node, a small group of cells in your right atrium, transmits an electrical pulse through the heart, causing the atria to contract. The impulse passes through the ventricles, allowing them to contract and pump blood throughout the body. The number of heartbeats per minute is called the heart rate. The rate of these contractions is determined by nerve impulses and blood hormones.
The rate at which your heart beats continuously varies, increasing and decreasing in response to many conditions and situations. For example, your heart rate will increase during strenuous activity to ensure that all cells in the body are receiving sufficient amounts of oxygen-rich blood. The heart rate may also become faster in response to stressful situations or when you are in pain. Your heart rate is normally lower during times of relaxation or sleep. The average resting heart rate in an adult is between 60 and 80 beats per minute.
Many factors affect your heart rate, including age, general fitness, aerobic conditioning, and altitude. Infants and children normally have a faster heart rate than adults. Many diseases, disorders, and conditions can also cause a rapid heartbeat such as heart disease, birth defects, and hyperthyroidism.
Treatment for an abnormally rapid heartbeat varies depending on the specific type of underlying heart rhythm, its underlying cause, your age and medical history, and other factors.
Tachycardia usually results from a disturbance in the normal electrical impulses that control the heart's pumping action or the rate at which the heart pumps.
Depending on the cause of tachycardia, the following factors may trigger it:
Sometimes, however, the exact cause may not be clear.
- a reaction to certain medications
- congenital irregularities of the heart
- consuming excessive amounts of alcohol or caffeine
- using cocaine or other recreational drugs
- an electrolyte imbalance
- poor blood supply and damage to heart tissues causes heart disease, coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, heart failure, heart muscle disease, tumors, or infections
- hypertension or high blood pressure
- certain lung conditions, thyroid problems, anemia, and other health problems
- severe bleeding
- physical and mental stress, including illness and anxiety
- previous heart surgery
Your physician will ask you to describe your signs. He will examine your personal medical history and the potential causes of tachycardia, including lung disease, thyroid disorders, and medications. Your doctor will want to know if you have a family history of heart disease and cardiac arrhythmia.
During the physical exam, your doctor will check your heart rate and rhythm. Your doctor will also look for an enlarged heart, heart murmurs (a sign of a heart valve problem), abnormal lung sounds, and physical signs of thyroid abnormalities (enlarged thyroid, hand tremors, and abnormal protrusion of the breasts. eyes).
To further assess your tachycardia, your doctor will order an electrocardiogram (ECG). However, because some forms of tachycardia come and go, a point-in-office EKG may be normal. If this is the case, you may need a test called an ambulatory electrocardiogram. For this test, you will wear a portable EKG machine called a Holter monitor for a period, usually 24 hours. If symptoms occur infrequently, you may need to wear a monitor for longer. You will be taught how to press a button to record EKG readings when symptoms appear.
Depending on the results of your physical exam, other tests may be needed, such as blood tests to measure your red blood cell count and thyroid hormone levels and an echocardiogram to see if there are any structural abnormalities in your heart. Sometimes doctors perform "electrophysiology tests," in which they insert special catheters into the heart to collect information about patterns of electrical activities in the heart.
Your doctor will decide what is best after getting the results of your test.
If you have sinus tachycardia, they will help you identify the cause and suggest measures to lower your heart rate. These can include lifestyle changes like relieving stress or taking medication to lower fever.
If you have supraventricular tachycardia, your doctor may recommend that you drink less caffeine or alcohol, get more sleep, or quit smoking.
Treatments for ventricular tachycardia may include drugs to reset the heart's electrical signals or ablation, a procedure that destroys the abnormal heart tissue that causes the disease. Your doctor may also use a defibrillator to disrupt rapid heart rhythms.
A rapid heart rate doesn't always need treatment. But sometimes it can be life-threatening. So play it safe - tell your doctor immediately if you have an irregular heartbeat.
When to visit a Doctor?
Seek immediate medical attention if you:
Make an appointment with a doctor if you have new symptoms of a fast or irregular heartbeat.
- You feel dizzy, lightheaded, or faint
- Are out of breath
- Have chest pain
Here are some ways to prevent tachycardia and other heart problems at home:
- avoiding the use of tobacco and recreational drugs
- limit alcohol and caffeine intake
- reduce stress, if possible
- get enough sleep
- eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly
Medicines that can help people manage tachycardia include:
- antiarrhythmic drugs
- calcium channel blockers, such as diltiazem (Cardizem) or verapamil (Calan)
- beta-blockers, such as propranolol (Inderal) or metoprolol (Lopressor)
- blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin) or apixaban (Eliquis)
Radiofrequency catheter ablation:
An electrophysiologist can insert catheters into the heart through blood vessels. The electrodes at the ends of the catheter can ablate or damage small sections of the heart that handle the abnormal heart rhythm.
A physician may recommend surgery for repairs or changes that can help reduce the risk of tachycardia. They will only do this if other therapies haven't worked, or the person has other heart diseases.
Frequently Asked Questions:
A fast or rapid heartbeat occurs when your heart is beating faster than normal. A normal heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute. Tachycardia is considered to be a heart rate greater than 100 beats per minute.
Dehydration can lead to low blood pressure, which can make you feel dizzy, weak, and tired. Severe dehydration can lead to dangerously low blood pressure, which requires medical attention. Dehydration can cause a rapid heart rate or heart palpitations.
Strenuous exercise, fever, fear, stress, anxiety, certain medications, and street drugs can lead to sinus tachycardia. Anemia, an overactive thyroid, or damage from a heart attack or heart failure can also trigger it.
Ventricular tachycardia - https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/01.cir.57.3.431
Supraventricular Tachycardia - https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(11)60789-1/abstract
Rapid heartbeat - https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00956/full