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Factors That Can Affect Resting Heart Rate

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In addition to age, a few other factors can affect your resting heart rate.

  • Temperature. Your heart rate may increase slightly when youre exposed to hot temperatures.
  • Medication side effects. Medications, like beta-blockers, can lower your resting heart rate.
  • Emotions. If youre anxious or excited, your heart rate may increase.
  • Weight. People with obesity may have a higher resting heart rate. This is because the heart has to work harder to supply the body with blood.
  • Anemia. In anemia, low levels of red blood cells can cause the heart to beat faster in order to supply your body with oxygen-rich blood.
  • Endocrine or hormonal abnormalities. Abnormal levels of some hormones can influence heart rate. For example, too much thyroid hormone can increase heart rate while too little thyroid hormone can decrease heart rate.
  • Postural tachycardia syndrome . This syndrome produces an abnormal increase in heart rate after sitting up or standing. In addition to heart palpitations, some typical symptoms of PoTS include dizziness and fainting.
  • Body positioning. Heart rate can increase temporarily when you move from a sitting to a standing position.
  • Smoking. Smokers tend to have a higher resting heart rate. Quitting smoking can help bring it back down. This is often difficult, but a doctor can help build a cessation plan that works for you.

Your maximum heart rate is a calculation that helps you figure out what your ideal target heart rate is during exercise.

What Are The Symptoms Of Sudden Increase In Heart Rate

When the heart beats too quickly, it is not able to effectively pump blood to the other organs of your body. This may deprive the tissues and organs of your body of oxygen and may result in the following symptoms and signs related to tachycardia:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Heart palpitations, irregular, uncomfortable or racing heartbeat or flopping sensation in chest
  • Fainting or syncope

In some individuals, tachycardia may produce no symptoms and signs and the condition is discovered when a physical exam is conducted or during an electrocardiogram .

When to Visit Your Physician?

Symptoms of tachycardia and increased heart rate can be caused by numerous medical conditions. Its imperative to get accurate and prompt diagnosis of the condition and appropriate treatment. You should visit your physician if either your kid or you develop any symptoms of tachycardia.

If you develop a fainting episode, have difficulty in breathing or develop chest pain that lasts longer than few minutes, it is imperative to get immediate emergency medical care or you should call your local medical emergency number or 911. You should seek immediate emergency care if anyone else is having these symptoms.

Complications

The severity of complications of sudden increase in heart rate varies, depending on several factors including the kind of tachycardia, the duration and rate of tachycardia and presence of other problems of heart. Some of the possible complications are:

What Causes Heart Palpitations

Older adults are more likely to have medical conditions that can increase their likelihood of having palpitations. But heart palpitations can show up in people of any age.

Some of the heart conditions that can cause heart palpitations include:

Other issues that can cause heart palpitations include:

  • Being dehydrated
  • Certain medications, including decongestants or inhalers for asthma
  • Hormonal fluctuations in women who are menstruating, pregnant or about to enter menopause
  • Problems with electrolytes, including low potassium levels
  • Strong feelings of anxiety, fear or stress, including panic attacks

Overactive thyroid, also known as hyperthyroidism, can throw off the hearts normal rhythm, causing palpitations. This type of thyroid disorder is treatable with medications to slow the heart rate and treat the overactive thyroid.

Recommended Reading: When To Be Concerned About Heart Palpitations

Things You Can Do To Help With Supraventricular Tachycardia

If your episodes of SVT only last a few minutes and do not bother you, you may not need treatment.

You can make changes to your lifestyle to reduce your chances of having episodes, such as:

  • cutting down on the amount of caffeine or alcohol you drink
  • stopping or cutting back on smoking
  • making sure you get enough rest

Your doctor may also be able to recommend some simple techniques to help stop episodes when they happen.

What Can I Expect If I Have Tachycardia

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Depending on which type of tachycardia you have, you may have harmless symptoms, very dangerous symptoms or something in between. Medicines and other treatments can help you control your symptoms. You may need to wear a Holter monitor or do electrophysiology testing to see how well your medicine is working.

How long tachycardia lasts

Tachycardia that puts you in danger doesnt go away on its own. Youll need to live a healthier lifestyle and take medicines to control it. You may also need to have a procedure, such as an ablation, to help you manage it.

Outlook for tachycardia

Although medications cant cure tachycardia, they can help you control it. Ablation may be a long-term solution to certain types of tachycardia. Ventricular fibrillation can be fatal without immediate treatment.

Also Check: Causes Of Left Sided Heart Failure

How Do You Check Your Pulse

You can measure your heart rate manually by checking your pulse. Follow these three steps.

  • Find your pulse in your wrist .
  • Count each beat for a total time of 30 seconds.
  • Double the number of beats you counted. This is your heart rate or pulse, measured in beats per minute.

Also make a note of whether your heart beats at an even or uneven rhythm. A normal heart beats in a steady rhythm like a clock, tick tock tick tock.

Some people like to use a heart rate monitor to measure their heart rate. These monitors are often included in fitness trackers, which are now widely available in sports stores and other retail outlets. However, their accuracy depends on the quality of the device.

If you’ve been active, or recently had a stimulant like nicotine or caffeine, you’ll need to wait at least five minutes before taking your pulse.

What Causes A Fluctuating Heart Rate

Most fluctuations in heart rate are normal responses to the rhythms of daily life due to things like stress, sleep or a morning cup of coffee.

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But it’s important to understand what your heart rate is, why it might be fluctuating and when to get medical help.

After all, your heart rate “is one of the most sensitive markers to understanding what’s happening with your heart,” says Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, a cardiologist in New York City.

Read Also: What Is A Dangerously High Heart Rate

What Is A Normal Heart Rate

A normal resting heart rate will be a little different for each person. The average adults heart rate ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. But many things affect where someones heart rate usually lives within that range, including:

  • Fitness: People with good cardiovascular fitness like athletes tend to have lower resting heart rates. Their resting heart may even be in the 50s.

  • Age: The average adult between the ages of 18 to 30 usually has a heart rate in the low 80s. This decreases as they get older. Adults 50 to 80 years old typically run in the low 70s.

  • Sex: The average woman has a heart rate of 79. The average man clocks in at 74.

Take these averages with a grain of salt. Its completely normal if your heart rate falls above or below average.

Medical Causes Of A Fluctuating Heart Rate

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Medical issues ââ¬â many of them easily treated ââ¬â can also cause a fluctuating pulse, including:

  • ââ¬â¹Anemia or blood loss.ââ¬â¹ “The blood cells aren’t carrying enough oxygen, so a rise in heart rate compensates for diminished oxygen,” says Dr. Cantillon.
  • ââ¬â¹Fever or infectionââ¬â¹
  • ââ¬â¹An overactive thyroid glandââ¬â¹ will speed up your heart rate. “The thyroid regulates your metabolism, so if it’s too high, your heart might beat faster than normal,” says Dr. Lahiri.
  • ââ¬â¹An underactive thyroidââ¬â¹ can have the opposite effect, often slowing your heart rate.
  • ââ¬â¹Having diabetes, underweight or overweightââ¬â¹ can all make the heart work faster.
  • ââ¬â¹Sleep apneaââ¬â¹
  • ââ¬â¹A heart attack or previous heart problemsââ¬â¹
  • Recommended Reading: Signs And Symptoms Of Right Sided Heart Failure

    How To Treat A Fluctuating Heart Rate

    Most of the time, a fluctuating heart rate ââ¬â whether it’s too fast or too slow ââ¬â will fix itself.

    If it’s caused by an underlying condition, though, treating the condition can help stabilize your pulse. For example, your doctor might prescribe iron supplements if you have anemia, or medication to correct a thyroid disorder.

    Arrhythmias are more complex and require a complete work-up by a cardiologist, but those can usually be managed with lifestyle changes or medications.

    You should seek medical help right away if you feel chest pain, high heart rate at rest or shortness of breath out of proportion to what would be expected for the degree of activity, says Dr. Arora. “Chest pain associated with sweating and nausea is particularly concerning, as that can be due to a heart attack,” he adds.

    Other red flags can include feeling weak, dizzy or lightheaded.

    A High Heart Rate May Not Be Related To Your Heart

    These are common reasons why your heart rate may be high:

    • Stress. When your body responds to something stressful, frightening or upsetting, you may get a jolt of adrenaline, which increases your heart rate.
    • Overactive thyroid . Having too much thyroid hormone in your system makes your heart beat faster than it should, increasing your heart rate.
    • Anemia. If you have anemia, you dont have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen around your body to your organs. Your heart may beat more rapidly to compensate for this, in an attempt to help whatever oxygen-rich blood you have to reach your organs more quickly.
    • Medication side effects. A number of drugs may cause your heart rate to increase, including some medications that treat colds, asthma, anxiety, depression and high blood pressure.
    • Addictive substances. Caffeine, cigarettes and high levels of alcohol may cause your heart rate to rise after you use those substances. Additionally, illegal drugs like cocaine may also have this effect on your heart rate.
    • Strenuous physical activity. When you exert more than your body is prepared for, the heart rate increases to meet the higher demand.

    Read Also: Can Heart Attack Cause Seizure

    Exercise And Heart Rate

    Like any other muscle, your heart needs exercise to keep it fit and healthy. Regular exercise can help reduce your risk of heart disease and other health conditions, such as diabetes.

    To keep your heart healthy, you should aim to do 150 minutes of low to moderate intensity exercise a week. If you have a heart condition, talk to your doctor about what exercise and target heart rates are safe for you.

    One way to measure the intensity of your exercise is by using your heart rate. To exercise at a low to moderate intensity your heart rate should be at 50 to 70% of your approximate maximum heart rate.

    The easiest way to get an approximate maximum heart rate is to calculate 220 your age. You then need to calculate 50 to 70% of your MHR.

    For example, if you’re 40-years-old:

    • your approximate maximum heart rate is: 220 40 = 180 beats per minute
    • 50% of your MHR is 180 X 0.5 = 90 bpm
    • 70% of your MHF is 180 X 0.7 = 126 bpm.

    Alternatively, you can use our heart rate chart below to get a rough idea.

    Remember if you’re on medications to slow your heart rate down, you may not be able to meet these upper heart rates and the aim should be to exercise at a rate that makes you lightly puff.

    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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    How Do I Know My Resting Heart Rate

    To take your resting heart rate, make sure youre sitting and have not recently exerted yourself. You can usually find your pulse by feeling the inside of your wrist, just below the base of your thumb. You will feel a soft, pounding sensation there. You can count how many times you feel this in 1 minute, or you can count it for 10 seconds and multiply by 6.

    If you have a smartwatchor other electronic heart monitor, you may be able to get an electronic read out of your heart rate. Most of the time these devices are fairly accurate.

    Normal Causes Of A Fluctuating Heart Rate

    Your resting heart rate is when your heart is doing the least amount of work. That’s measured when you’re sleeping, sitting or lying down and feeling calm and relaxed. Things like your age, sex and physical fitness can affect your resting heart rate.

    Plenty of everyday things cause heart rates to fluctuate. You can expect your pulse to change throughout the day as your heart adjusts to different energy needs.

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    What Is A Target Heart Rate

    According to the AHA , your target heart rate during moderate-intensity activities is about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. Vigorous physical activity should result in about 70 to 85 percent of your maximum.

    So for 35-year-olds, a goal target heart rate is between 93 and 157 bpm .

    The table below shows the target heart rate range and average maximum heart rate for different ages, based on information from the AHA.

    Age
    • being an older adult
    • problems with the conduction system of the heart

    Borderline or occasional bradycardia may not need treatment. But prolonged bradycardia, or bradycardia thats not treated, can become more serious.

    Certain underlying conditions are typically the true decider of what a dangerous heart rate is. If youre already living with heart disease, heart failure, or a history of heart disease and notice a fluctuation in your heart rate, you should go to the doctor as soon as you can, as it could be a sign of a serious complication.

    Changes In Heart Rhythms Are Usually Harmless

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    Our heart rate adapts to our bodys need for energy throughout the day, whether its for walking up the stairs or a bout of strenuous exercise. These tempo changes based on physical activity are perfectly normal.

    Other common situations can trigger changes in heart rhythms too. Mild dehydration can cause the heart to beat more quickly thats the bodys way of trying to maintain the flow of blood when theres less available for every beat.

    A change in medication, or an interaction between medications, can trigger a temporarily abnormal heartbeatanother reason to always share medication and supplement routines with your health care team. And while the resolution can be simple , its sometimes beyond our ability to understand why we feel a change in our heart rhythms or if its the symptom of a more urgent medical situation.

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    Box 1 Diagnostic Criteria For Pots4

    • Sustained heart rate increase of 30 beats per minute or more within 10 minutes of standing or head up tilt in the absence of orthostatic hypotension
    • Standing heart rate is often 120 beats per minute or more within 10 minutes of standing or head up tilt
    • Orthostatic tachycardia may be accompanied by symptoms of cerebral hypoperfusion and autonomic over-activity that are relieved by decumbency
    • Criteria not applicable for low resting heart rate.

    PoTS tends to affect people aged 1550 years and is four times more common in females.1 This may relate to peripheral vasodilator effects of female sex hormones and vasoconstrictive effects of testosterone. The prevalence in the UK is unknown4 but probably under-estimated due to overlap with other pathologies such as chronic fatigue, post-viral syndromes, and limited availability of knowledgeable healthcare personnel.7

    Checking Your Heart Rhythm

    Several devices can be used to find your hearts rhythm:

    • An EKG is a painless test that can be done in the office and gives a quick snapshot of heart rhythm at that time. Electrodes are placed on your chest, arms and legs to record the activity. The test takes just about 10 minutes.
    • A Holter monitor is a small device you wear that records a continuous ECG, usually for 24 to 48 hours.
    • A cardiac event monitor is similar to a Holter monitor but can be worn for up to 30 days.
    • Devices such as loop recorders can be implanted under the skin to monitor your heart rhythm for up to 3 years.

    Read Also: Can Diabetes Cause Heart Palpitations

    What Are The Treatment Options

    Vagal Maneuvers

    Your heartbeat is regulated by the vagal nerve. Maneuvers, which affect vagal nerve are heaving , coughing and putting an ice pack on your face.

    Medicine

    You can take antiarrhythmic drugs either orally or get them injected. They make the heartbeat normal. The drugs are given in a hospital. The drugs that are available control heart rate restore normal rhythm of heart or do both. Sometimes, you may need more than one drug to control your tachycardia.

    Cardioversion

    An electric shock is given to heart using patches or paddles. The electrical impulses of the heart are affected by this and this helps in restoring normal rhythm. This is done in hospital.

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