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Tachycardia: Is it normal or dangerous for one’s health?

Tachycardia: Is it normal or dangerous for one’s health?

Have you ever experienced a sudden race of heartbeat? For example, you are just sitting in the corner then your heart suddenly beats faster than normal. Maybe that is a sign of tachycardia. In this article, we will discuss the types of tachycardia, causes, and tachycardia treatment.

What is tachycardia?

The normal heart rate of adults is 60 to 100 beats per minute. For children, it is 60 to 220 beats per minute. A person’s heart rate only reaches 220 beats per minute if they are phyiscally active.

Tachycardia is the point when your heart beats more than 100 per minute. It is fairly common, especially after exercising, drinking caffeine, or experiencing strong emotions.

If a person has not engaged in such activities before the increased heart rate, it may be caused by an underlying issue. Examples are an abnormal heart rhythm that may develop into further complications and health problems if left untreated.

However, for some types of tachycardia, treatment is not needed.

Types and Causes

These are some types of tachycardia and their corresponding causes:

  1. Sinus Tachycardia. It is the most common type that many people experience. This type is caused by emotions, anxiety, exercise, fever, or caffeine beverages. Still, tachycardia treatment is recommended. In a few cases, heart rate increases due to anemia, hyperthyroidism, heart complications, and severe bleeding.
  2. Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT). In this type, the upper part of the heart is affected, called the atria. When the atria receive short electric signals, the heart beats faster than normal. Most of the time, it is not dangerous. The serious matter is it still can be associated with heart problems. SVT is most likely to happen those who are anxious, exhausted, heavy caffeine and alcohol drinkers, or smokers.
  3. Ventricular Tachycardia. The lower part of the heart, called the ventricles, is affected in this type of tachycardia. It is caused by abnormal electric signals and results in a fast heart rate. Underlying causes include lack of oxygen in heart tissue, cardiomyopathy, medications, illicit drugs, and sarcoidosis. For this type, tachycardia treatment from doctors is needed.

Symptoms

Our heart pumps blood through the entire body, but once it beats abnormally, other organs will be affected, resulting in the following:

  • Palpitations, rapid pulse rate, or faster heartbeat than normal
  • Dizziness, fatigue, and fainting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Heart attack (it happens when the tachycardia is severe)

Risks and Complications

With some types of tachycardia, treatment is often unnecessary as the heartbeat may go back to normal. However, other types can lead to complications if not attended by professionals, such as the following:

  • Blood clots that may lead to heart attack or stroke
  • Heart failure due to lack of blood flow
  • Death, usually caused by ventricular tachycardia

Treatments

Tachycardia treatment varies depending on its type.

  1. Sinus tachycardia does not need any treatment, but if it happens frequently, treatment is a must. Usually, there are underlying causes if this occurs repeatedly. Then, the determined cause will be the focus of the treatment.
  2. Supraventricular tachycardia treatment includes lessening caffeine and alcohol intake, quit from smoking, and rest. If from a professional, putting pressure on the neck and eye massage are some of the treatments.
  3. Ventricular Tachycardia. The applied treatments in this type depend on the causes. The usual ventricular tachycardia treatments include medication, radiofrequency ablation, surgery, and defibrillation. Defibrillation is only necessary if the case is severe.

When to see a doctor?

Consult medical professionals immediately if the sudden increase in heart rate is not caused by being physically active, caffeine intake, and emotions, especially if the tachycardia occurs frequently.

It is important to see a doctor immediately to determine the possible long-term health problems as soon as possible, decide for tachycardia treatment, and prevent further complications.

Tachycardia diagnosis and assessment

Doctors will do a physical examination, including questions about the family’s medical history. It also includes observation and assessment of symptoms.

For an accurate diagnosis, doctors will perform some tests using equipment such as:

  • Holter Monitor: It is a device in a pocket placed by the chest, worn by a strap or belt. It is for recording the heart’s activity within 24 hours.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG): It measures the heart’s electrical signals.
  • Exercise and Stress Test: The doctor will observe the heart’s activity and response in every level of physical activities
  • Echocardiogram: This test shows the heart structure, monitoring the state of atria, ventricles, and walls.

Key Takeaway

Tachycardia is a heart condition when the beat per minute increases to 100 while at rest. In some cases, it is safe and typical. However, patients with underlying health problems can be at risk if not consulted by a doctor. If you observe that it happens most of the time, visit a doctor immediately and undergo diagnostic tests, and proceed to tachycardia treatment when needed.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Tachycardia in Children: Types and Treatments

https://www.newhealthadvisor.org/Tachycardia-in-Children.html Date Accessed July 15, 2021

Is tachycardia dangerous?

https://blog.providence.org/blog-2/is-tachycardia-dangerous Date Accessed July 15, 2021

Tachycardia

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tachycardia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355127 Date Accessed July 15, 2021

Tachycardia

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tachycardia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355133 Date Accessed July 15, 2021

Tachycardia: Fast Heart Rate

https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/arrhythmia/about-arrhythmia/tachycardia–fast-heart-rate Date Accessed July 15, 2021

Tachycardia

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/tachycardia Date Accessed July 15, 2021

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Written by Shienna Santelices Updated Aug 17
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
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