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How Is Atrial Fibrillation Defined

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Atrial fibrillation is defined in various ways, depending on how it affects you:

  • paroxysmal atrial fibrillation – this comes and goes, usually stopping within 48 hours without any treatment.
  • persistent atrial fibrillation – this lasts for longer than seven days, or less when it is treated.
  • longstanding persistent atrial fibrillation – this means you have had continuous atrial fibrillation for a year or longer.
  • permanent atrial fibrillation – this is when atrial fibrillation is present all the time and no more attempts to restore normal heart rhythm will be made

What Do I Do If My Child Has A Rapid Heartbeat

A rapid heartbeat in a child could be a cause for concern. If your childs heartbeat is too fast, you should call your pediatrician. Share the pulse you counted with them, and they will let you know the best next steps.

If your child’s heart is beating too fast for you to count the beats, that could be cause for concern. Learn how to check pulse and what a healthy heart rate is via @Childrens.

Adjusting Your Activity Level

Once youve determined your ideal heart rate for exercise, its important to use this information to help keep the intensity level of your workouts in check.

Slow down your pace and effort level if your heart rate during activity is higher than it should be based on your doctors instructions and the guidelines above. If its lower that it should be, work harder to ensure that youre getting the benefits of the exercise.

Start slowly during the first few weeks of working out, aiming for the lower end of your target zone. You can then build up gradually to the higher end of your target zone.

With a little practice and guidance from your healthcare team, youll soon be able to make the most of your exercise routine by measuring your ideal heart rate.

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When To See A Doctor

A person experiencing a fast heart rate should take special note of whether or not he is experiencing additional symptoms. Are there are other things going on that could be making someone feel lousy?

For example, a person who is experiencing shortness of breath, activity intolerance, palpitations, or extreme fatigue should see a doctor immediately.

Its important to note that many people who are experiencing an elevated heart rate dont feel it or associate it with other issues. In other words, it can often take a bit of an investigation to discover the cause.

Restoring A Normal Heart Rhythm

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There are a number of drugs that can be used to try to restore a normal heart. The best option for you will be decided by your cardiologist and /or GP.

Commonly, these drugs include:

Dronedarone may also be used for certain people.

It is important you know what side effects to look out for if taking such medication and seek medical advice if you experience any of them.

To find out about side effects, read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine for more details.

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When To Get Help For Heart Palpitations

Most peoples hearts beat between 60 and 100 times per minute. If youre sitting down and feeling calm, your heart shouldnt beat more than about 100 times per minute. A heartbeat thats faster than this, also called tachycardia, is a reason to come to the emergency department and get checked out. We often see patients whose hearts are beating 160 beats per minute or more. The body cant sustain that for long periods of time.

You also should get checked out if you feel like your hearts beating irregularly. The heart should beat steadily, like a metronome. If you feel like its pausing or skipping beats, that could be a sign of an abnormal heartbeat, which can increase the risk of a stroke.

If a patient comes into the emergency department while the palpitations are going on, we may be able to provide medications to slow the heart rate or convert an abnormal heart rhythm to a normal one. In extreme cases where medications arent enough, we may need to do a cardioversion. Thats when we shock the heart so it can reset itself to a normal rhythm. Patients are sedated during this procedure so they do not feel the electrical shock.

Should I Worry About My Fast Pulse

Q. My pulse is usually on the fast side. Does a high heart rate mean I have a problem with my heart?

A. In otherwise healthy people, a heart rate at rest should be less than100 beats per minute at rest. Heart rates that are consistently above 100, even when the person is sitting quietly, can sometimes be caused by an abnormal heart rhythm. A high heart rate can also mean the heart muscle is weakened by a virus or some other problem that forces it to beat more often to pump enough blood to the rest of the body.

Usually, though, a fast heartbeat is not due to heart disease, because a wide variety of noncardiac factors can speed the heart rate. These include fever, a low red blood cell count , an overactive thyroid, or overuse of caffeine or stimulants like some over-the-counter decongestants. The list goes on and includes anxiety and poor physical conditioning.

Many people today wear a wrist band that shows their heart rate. Or you can check your heart rate the old fashioned way by feeling the pulse in your wrist or neck. You count the number of beats over 15 seconds and multiply it times four. If your heart rate is consistently high, you should make an appointment with your doctor.

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Can Tachycardia Go Away

If you have sinus tachycardia, your symptoms will go away once the fear, anxiety or other emotion that caused it ends. For most other types of tachycardia, youll need medication or even a procedure to keep your symptoms from coming back.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Tachycardia symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on which type of tachycardia you have. For peace of mind, talk to your healthcare provider if youre having symptoms. They can tell you if you have a reason to be concerned. Keep taking the medicines your provider prescribed for you, especially heart medicines. Dont stop taking them without your healthcare providers approval. And be sure to keep going to all of your follow-up appointments.

  • American College of Cardiology. Supraventricular Tachycardia: What Increases Your Risk? Accessed 10/3/2022.
  • American Heart Association. Multiple pages reviewed. Accessed 10/3/2022.
  • Heart Rhythm Society. Early Warning Signs. Accessed 10/3/2022.
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. What is an Arrhythmia? Accessed 10/3/2022.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.Policy

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.Policy

What Is Considered A Fast Heart Rate

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The definition of a fast heart rate differs depending on the age of the person experiencing it. Typically, it is defined as have a resting heart rate faster than 100 beats per minute for adults.

A fast heart rate is one that is unexpected for a certain level of physical activity. Usually, most adults resting heart rate usually lies in the range of 60-80 beats per minute, with some heart rates approaching 100 beats per minute.

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Fast Heart Rate And Age

Concern regarding a fast heart rate is going to differ based on the patients age and health. As a general rule, the younger you are, the lower your resting heart rate. As you get older, your resting heart rate increases. Interestingly, however, there are some patients who experience faster and slower heart rates at the same time. This phenomenon can be seen across many age groups. Thus, cause for concern is not 100% definable by age.

What Is A Normal Exercising Heart Rate

To determine what a normal exercising heart rate is, you first need to determine your age-predicted maximal heart rate. Here is the generalized equation for predicting maximal heart rate in healthy adults:

HRmax = 208

For example, a 20-year-old person, the age-predicted maximal heart rate would be 194 beats per minute and for a 65-year-old person, the age-predicted maximal heart rate would be 163 beats per minute. A simplified age-predicted maximal heart rate equation is commonly used, but it overestimates maximal heart rate in young adults and increasingly underestimates the maximal heart rate in older adults.

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What Happens In Atrial Fibrillation

When the heart beats normally, its muscular walls contract to force blood out and around the body. They then relax, so the heart can fill with blood again. This process is repeated every time the heart beats.

Atrial fibrillation occurs when abnormal electrical impulses suddenly start firing in the atria .

These impulses override the hearts natural pacemaker, which can no longer control the rhythm of the heart. The atria contract randomly and sometimes so fast that the heart muscle cannot relax properly between contractions. This reduces the hearts efficiency and performance and causes a highly irregular pulse rate.

What Is A Healthy Heart Rate For A Child

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When your child is sitting quietly, their heart rate is considered a resting heart rate. A healthy resting heart rate can vary by age.

  • Newborns 0 to 1 month old: 70 to 190 beats per minute
  • Infants 1 to 11 months old: 80 to 160 beats per minute
  • Children 1 to 2 years old: 80 to 130 beats per minute
  • Children 3 to 4 years old: 80 to 120 beats per minute
  • Children 5 to 6 years old: 75 to 115 beats per minute
  • Children 7 to 9 years old: 70 to 110 beats per minute
  • Children 10 years and older: 60 to 100 beats per minute

It’s likely that your child’s pulse stays within these healthy ranges, even if the pulse feels very fast. Understanding the variations in heart rates and how to properly check your child’s rate can help keep track and prevent unnecessary concern.

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What Can Change A Child’s Heart Rate

Just as in adults, a child’s heart rate will vary depending on the activity level, whether asleep or awake, and whether your child is healthy or ill, calm or stressed.

“Your child’s heart rate is typically not linked to an intrinsic heart problem,” says Dr. Kane. “Their heart rate can go up with anything that makes them excited or uncomfortable. When this happens, it’s just a natural response to stress.”

A child might have a fast heart rate if they are:

  • Playing or exercising vigorously
  • Experiencing a fever or illness
  • Drinking a lot of caffeine or energy drinks

If your child is experiencing any of the above, a fast heart rate is typically not a cause for concern, though drinking a lot of caffeine can cause problems in some children. Also, remember that your child’s heart naturally beats faster than an adult heart and can get much faster during exercise than an adult heart rate.

However, if your child is experiencing symptoms such as chest pain or trouble breathing along with a fast heart rate, they may need medical attention. Dr. Kane says a good rule of thumb is if your child’s heart is beating too fast for you to count the beats, then medical help may be needed.

A child typically experiences a slower heart rate when sleeping. However, if their heart rate is slow in the middle of the day and they show symptoms of lethargy or experience fainting, they may need medical help.

What Are Common Tests/treatments For A Fast Heart Rate

Common tests and treatments for a fast heart rate include blood pressure measurements, EKGs, and ultrasounds of the heart. A doctor may check to see if your elevated heart rate occurs only with a change in position . If so, there could be an imbalance of heart rate and blood pressure control in the body.

Treatment for a fast heart rate will vary greatly based on its cause.

If you are concerned about an elevated heart rate or have additional questions on the topic, I encourage you to schedule an appointment today.

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Why Your Heart Rate Goes Up When Youre Sick

When you get sick a run-of-the-mill illness, like a cold or the flu you may have noticed your heart beats a little faster than normal. In that moment, perhaps you even got a bit nervous. You may have asked yourself, why is my heart beating so fast? or should I call a doctor about it?

Its totally normal to have an increased heart rate when youre sick. Most of the time, its not a cause for concern. When you get sick, your body temperature usually rises, and that makes your heart beat faster. However, to better understand exactly whats going on, we spoke with Jason Hatch, MD, a cardiologist at Banner Health, to discuss the connection between sickness and your heart rate. Heres what you should know.

How Are Arrhythmias Treated

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Many arrhythmias don’t need treatment. For those that do, these options might be used:

  • Medicines. Many types of prescription anti-arrhythmic medicines are available to treat arrhythmia. Sometimes, these can increase symptoms and cause side effects, so the patient will be closely watched by the doctor.
  • Pacemakers. A pacemaker is a small battery-operated device implanted into the body through a surgical procedure. Connected to the heart by a wire, a pacemaker can detect if the heart rate is too slow and send electrical signals to speed up the heartbeat.
  • Defibrillators. A small battery-operated implantable cardioverter defibrillator is surgically placed near the left collarbone. Wires run from the defibrillator to the heart. The ICD senses if the heart has a dangerously fast or irregular rhythm and sends an electrical signal to restore a normal heartbeat.
  • Catheter ablation. A catheter is guided through a vein in the leg to the heart. Arrhythmias often are caused by microscopic defects in the heart muscle. Once the problem area of the heart is pinpointed, the catheter heats or freezes the defective muscle cells and destroys them.
  • Surgery. Surgery is usually the treatment recommended only if all other options have failed. In this case, a person is put under anesthesia and a surgeon removes the tissue causing the arrhythmia.

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Start With Resting Heart Rate

You should test your resting heart rate before measuring your training heart rate. The best time to test your resting heart rate is first thing in the morning, before youve gotten out of bed ideally after a good nights sleep.

Using the technique described above, determine your resting heart rate and record this number to share with your doctor. You might try checking your resting heart rate for a few days in a row to confirm that your measurement is accurate.

According to the American Heart Association , the average resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. However, this number may rise with age and is usually lower for people with higher physical fitness levels. The AHA notes that physically active people, such as athletes, may have a resting heart rate as low as 40 beats per minute.

When Should You See A Doctor About Your Heart Rate

You may want to start with a visit to your health care provider if your heart rate is consistently above 100 beats per minute or below 60 beats per minute , or if youre also experiencing shortness of breath, fainting spells, lightheadedness or feeling fluttering or palpitations in your chest. It may be nothing to worry about, or it could be something that needs to be treated.

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Is Resting Heart Rate Different By Age

For most of us , between 60 and 100 beats per minute is normal.1 The rate can be affected by factors like stress, anxiety, hormones, medication, and how physically active you are. An athlete or more active person may have a resting heart rate as low as 40 beats per minute. Now thats chill!

When it comes to resting heart rate, lower is better. It usually means your heart muscle is in better condition and doesnt have to work as hard to maintain a steady beat. Studies have found that a higher resting heart rate is linked with lower physical fitness and higher blood pressure and body weight.2

What You Can Do For Your Heart Rate

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You should always aim to take good care of your heart. This includes exercising regularly, eating heart-healthy foods, minimizing alcohol, and maintaining a moderate weight.

Additionally, you should visit your doctor regularly for physicals. Not only is it good practice, but it can also help with the early detection of high cholesterol or blood pressure abnormalities.

If you already have heart disease, you should carefully monitor your condition and stick to your treatment plan. Take all medications as instructed by your doctor. Be sure to promptly report any new or worsening symptoms.

Other heart health tips include:

  • Find ways to reduce stress. Examples include things like yoga or meditation.
  • Limit your caffeine intake when possible. Using too much caffeine can increase heart rate.
  • Limit intake of energy drinks.
  • Moderate your intake of alcohol. Women should only have one drink or less per day while men should have two or fewer drinks per day.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking increases your heart rate, and quitting can help bring it back down.
  • Avoid cannabis. Cannabis use

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