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Tachycardia

Tachycardia occurs when a person’s heart rate is faster than normal. In adults, a normal resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. However, a faster heart rate is not always a symptom of heart disease but may indicate other medical conditions.

Causes/Risk Factors
The most common external causes of tachycardia include:
  • Exercise or playing sports
  • Anemia or other blood diseases
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Fever
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Not getting enough rest
  • Drinking alcohol or caffeine
  • Smoking
  • Side effect of certain medications
  • Use of certain recreational drugs, such as cocaine
The cause within the heart that leads to tachycardia is usually due to abnormal electrical signals in the heart, such as:
  • Atrial or supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling faint
  • Blurry vision
  • Heart palpitations
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Loss of consciousness, fainting
  • A thorough family history and physical examination including caffeine intake, chronic medical conditions (such as coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism)
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • 24- or 48-hour Holter monitoring to record the heart’s electrical activity if the symptoms come and go
  • Exercise stress test (EST)
  • Echocardiogram (ECG)
  • Cardiac electrophysiology study
Most of the time tachycardia is not caused by heart disease and may not require treatment, but just some lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol, caffeine, smoking, and recreational drugs. Tachycardia caused by specific conditions will require treatment as recommended by the doctor, depending on the cause, symptoms, and severity of the disease. For example, using medication to treat hyperthyroidism.
As for tachycardia caused by heart conditions, treatment depends on the specific condition. Your doctor will determine the best treatment option for you and this may include:
  • Using medication to control the heart’s rhythm
  • Cardioversion
  • Radiofrequency ablation therapy
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) may be in option for patients with ventricular fibrillation
  • Frequent dizziness or loss of consciousness
  • Formation of blood clots, especially with atrial fibrillation
  • Heart failure when the heart cannot adequately pump blood to the body
  • Sudden death, most common with ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation
  • Avoid risk factors, such as caffeine, alcohol, smoking, and stress
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Exercise regularly
  • Undergo regular health check-ups

Related Treatments

Doctors Related

Related Centers

Heart (Cardiology) Center

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