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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.

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 heart’s 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 heart’s efficiency and performance and causes a highly irregular pulse rate.

Urgent Advice: Call 999 If:

You have sudden chest pain that:

  • spreads to your arms, back, neck or jaw
  • makes your chest feel tight or heavy
  • also started with shortness of breath, sweating and feeling or being sick
  • lasts more than 15 minutes

You could be having a heart attack. Call 999 immediately as you need immediate treatment in hospital.

Also Check: What To Do For Heart Palpitations

Know Your Numbers: Maximum And Target Heart Rate By Age

This table shows target heart rate zones for different ages. Your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age.3

In the age category closest to yours, read across to find your target heart rates. Target heart rate during moderate intensity activities is about 50-70% of maximum heart rate, while during vigorous physical activity its about 70-85% of maximum.

The figures are averages, so use them as a general guide.

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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider

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Contact your provider if your medicine isnt helping you as much anymore or if you start having new symptoms.

When should I go to the ER?

Get help right away if you feel your heart pounding, have chest pain or if youre fainting or getting dizzy. You should also get help immediately for someone who collapses or is unconscious from ventricular fibrillation. Theyll need CPR to survive until paramedics arrive.

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What Causes Atrial Fibrillation

When the heart beats normally, its muscular walls tighten and squeeze 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.

In atrial fibrillation, the heart’s upper chambers contract randomly and sometimes so fast that the heart muscle cannot relax properly between contractions. This reduces the heart’s efficiency and performance.

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

These impulses override the heart’s natural pacemaker, which can no longer control the rhythm of the heart. This causes you to have a highly irregular pulse rate.

The cause is not fully understood, but it tends to affect certain groups of people, such as older people and people living with long-term conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure or obesity.

It may be triggered by certain situations, such as drinking too much alcohol or smoking.

Atrial fibrillation can be defined in various ways, depending on the degree to which it affects you.

For example:

  • paroxysmal atrial fibrillation episodes come and go, and usually stop within 48 hours without any treatment
  • persistent atrial fibrillation each episode lasts for longer than 7 days
  • permanent atrial fibrillation when it’s present all the time
  • long-standing atrial fibrillation where you’ve had atrial fibrillation usually for over a year

When To Contact A Medical Professional

If you have never had heart palpitations before, see your provider.

  • Loss of alertness
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • You often feel extra heartbeats .
  • You have risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure.
  • You have new or different heart palpitations.
  • Your pulse is more than 100 beats per minute .
  • You have related symptoms, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, feeling faint, or loss of consciousness.

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Whats The Normal Heart Rate

Your normal or resting heart rate is your pulse when you are sitting still, quiet, and relaxed. This represents the minimum amount of blood that your body needs because youre at rest. For healthy adults, the resting heart rate is generally between 60 and 100 beats per minute . Recent research suggests that the range of 60 to 90 beats per minute is more accurate. Well-trained athletes may have lower resting heart rates in the range of 40 to 60 beats per minute. A 2013 study showed that a resting heart rate over 90 bpm triples the risk of premature death as compared to the lowest heart rate category of less than 50 bpm.

The resting heart rate for children varies by age. According to the National Institute of Health , the normal heart rates for children are:

  • Newborns 0 to 1 month old: 70 190.
  • Infants 1 to 11 months old: 80 160.
  • Children 1 to 2 years old: 80 130.
  • Children 3 to 4 years old: 80 120.
  • Children 5 to 6 years old: 75 115.
  • Children 7 to 9 years old: 70 110.

Diagnosing The Underlying Cause

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Your doctor may use a variety of diagnostic tools to help diagnose your condition, including:

  • Holter or event monitor. This is a smaller, portable EKG machine you wear for a set amount of time to help your doctor monitor your electrocardiographic signals.
  • Electrocardiogram. Also referred to as an ECG or EKG, this diagnostic tool uses small electrodes to record the electrical activity of your heart. Your doctor can use the information collected to determine if heart abnormalities are contributing to your condition.
  • Stress test. Sometimes called a treadmill test or excercise test, this can help diagnose people whose symptoms may be exercise related.
  • A tilt-table test. This measures how your blood pressure and heart rate respond when you go from lying down to standing up. People dealing with fainting spells are usually candidates for a tilt-table test.
  • Imaging tests. Imaging can be used to assess if there are any structural abnormalities in your heart that may be contributing to your condition. Possible imaging tests can include echocardiogram, CT scan, and MRI scan.
  • Electrophysiologictesting. Done under local anesthesia, this procedure involves temporary electrode catheters being threaded through veins or arteries into the heart to record the hearts electrical signals.

Once a diagnosis is made, your doctor will work with you to develop a plan to treat and manage your condition.

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What You Can Do For Your Heart Rate

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

What Is My Role In Checking Out My Fast Heart Rate

If you are concerned about an elevated heart rate, make sure you arent currently dehydrated, and that you are being treated properly for any related medical condition.

If youve accounted for common causes of an elevated heart rate including reducing or eliminating caffeine and are still experiencing symptoms, make sure to see a doctor as soon as possible.

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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

Medicines To Reduce The Risk Of A Stroke

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The way the heart beats in atrial fibrillation means that there is a risk of blood clots forming in the heart chambers. If these get into the bloodstream, they can cause a stroke .

Your doctor will assess your risk to minimise your chance of a stroke. They will consider your age and whether you have a history of any of the following:

You will be classed as having a high, moderate or low risk of a stroke and will be given medication according to your risk.

Depending on your level of risk, you may be prescribed warfarin.

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What Should Your Heart Rate Be When Walking

Your walking heart rate will go up or down depending on how quickly you’re moving. In general, however, walking is a low- to moderate-intensity activity.

You can gauge your intensity during any activity â including walking â according to target heart rate zones for moderate-intensity and high-intensity exercise.

If you’re exercising at a moderate intensity , your heart rate will fall somewhere between 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate, whereas vigorous exercise will fall somewhere between 70 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.

To figure out your target heart rate zone while walking, you first need to determine your maximum heart rate, or the maximum number of times your heart beats per minute. The standard formula for calculating maximum heart rate is to subtract your age from 220.

To determine your target heart rate for various exercise intensities, take your maximum heart rate and multiply it by a percentage. For example, to figure out what 50 percent of your maximum heart rate equals, take your maximum heart and multiply it by 0.5.

You can do the math yourself, or you can check this heart rate chart from the AHA, which also offers target heart rate zones. If you’re 35 years old, for example, your average maximum heart rate is around 185 bpm, while your target heart rate zone during exercise is around 93 to 157 bpm.

However, these numbers are by no means definitive, so use them only as a general guide.

How To Measure Your Heart Rate While Walking

The easiest way to monitor your heart rate is by checking it with a monitor. However, if you have no heart monitor, you can check it in the old fashioned way by counting your pulse.

1. Heart Rate Monitor

Before using a heart rate monitor, you should set up your goal at what heart rate you wish to work out. Once you have determined your goals, walk to reach your targets. Different monitors work in different ways. Read the manual carefully before starting to use it in order to know and understand how the heart monitor really works.

You can choose a typical chest strap heart rate monitor which has a wrist display. When using a chest strap transmitter, it needs to be in close contact to your skin. You can use water, spit or electrolyte gel to moisten the skin to provide a better contact of the transmitter to your skin. Adjust the strap so it does not interfere with your breathing. Women should place the transmitter under the breast and bra.

You can also choose to monitor your heart rate with the help of a smartphone. Buy a Bluetooth chest strap which will transmit data to your smartphone app. Some types of smart watches have a LED-based monitor integrated.

2. Wrist

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How To Measure Heart Rate

Measuring your heart rate is as simple as checking your pulse. You can find your pulse over your wrist or neck. Try measuring your radial artery pulse, which is felt over the lateral part your wrist, just below the thumb side of your hand.

To measure your heart rate, gently press the tips of your index and middle fingers over this blood vessel in your wrist. Make sure not to use your thumb, because it has its own pulse and may cause you to miscount. Count the beats you feel for a full minute.

You can also count for 30 seconds and multiply the count by two, or count for 10 seconds and multiply by six.

Alternatively, you can use a heart rate monitor, which determines your heart rate automatically. You can program it to tell you when youre above or below your target range.

What Is A Normal Exercising Heart Rate

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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 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.

What’s A Normal Heart Rate

Heart rate is measured by counting the number of beats per minute. Someone’s normal heart rate depends on things like the person’s age and whether he or she leads an active lifestyle.

The resting heart rate decreases as people get older. Typical normal resting heart rate ranges are:

  • babies : 100150 beats per minute
  • kids 13 years old: 70110 beats per minute
  • kids by age 12: 5585 beats per minute

A doctor can determine whether a heart rate is too fast or slow, since the significance of an abnormal heart rate depends on the situation. For example, a teen or adult with a slow heart rate might begin to show symptoms when the heart rate drops below 50 beats per minute. But trained athletes have a lower resting heart rate, so a slow heart rate in them isn’t considered abnormal if it causes no symptoms.

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What Can I Expect If I Have Tachycardia

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.

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:

  • amiodarone

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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