Preparing For Your Appointment
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:
- Do you have a history of problems with your heart rate or rhythm? If so:
- Did you see a doctor?
- What was the diagnosis?
- What tests were done?
- How was it treated?
If you have kept a record of your heart rate or rhythm changes, be sure to discuss this with your doctor.
How To Check Your Heart Rate
You can check your heart rate by counting the pulse. A pulse can be felt at various sites on the body like over the sides of the neck, the wrist, and the top of the foot. To check your pulse on the wrist with the help of your middle finger and index finger, you need to:
- Keep your middle finger and your index finger over the inner part of the wrist and keep pressing gently until you can feel your pulse. The pulse is felt in your radial artery.
- After you have located your pulse, look at the watch, and start counting the beats for 30 seconds. Doubling this count will give you your heart rate. You can even count the beats for 10 seconds and multiply the number by six to get your heart rate.
If you find the rhythm of your heartbeat slightly irregular, you will have to count the beats completely until 60 seconds. You will have to visit your doctor if you keep getting a fast and irregular heart rate consistently.
Racing Heartbeat: Should You See A Doctor
My heart was beating really fast, but I dont have symptoms now. Should I see a doctor?
If youve asked yourself this question, then youve probably noticed your heart skipping a beat, fluttering, or just feeling like its working too hard inside your chest, neck, or throat.
Everyone has a racing heart from time to time. Stress, exercise, or even too much alcohol or caffeine can cause your heart to beat faster than normal.
But if your heart races a lotor if you notice your heartbeat is often irregularthen you should see a doctor.
Even though most racing heartbeats are caused by common situations , some irregular heartbeats are caused by serious heart conditions like atrial fibrillation. People who have these conditions need monitoring and treatment from a cardiologist .
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Know Your Numbers: Heart Rate
The better you understand your heart rate, the more you can maximize your movement to give your heart a good workout.
What is your heart rate?
Your heart rate, or pulse, is the number of times your heart beats per minute. Your resting heart rate is the heart pumping the lowest amount of blood you need because you’re not exercising. If you are sitting or lying down and you’re calm, relaxed and aren’t ill your heart rate is normally between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
Other factors can affect your heart rate include:
- Air temperature When temperatures or humidity increases, the heart pumps more blood so you pulse or heart rate may increase.
- Body position Sometimes when going from a sitting to a standing position, your pulse may go up a little. After a few minutes, it should return to a normal rate.
- Medications that block adrenaline tend to slow your heart rate. Thyroid medication may raise it.
Why your heart rate matters
What’s considered normal?
Your target heart rate is the minimum heart rate in a given amount of time to reach the level of energy necessary to give your heart a good workout. To find your target heart rate to maximize your cardiovascular exercise, the first step is determining your maximum heart rate.
Your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. Your target heart rate for moderate exercise is about 50%85% of your maximum heart rate.
Averages by age as a general guide are:
What you can do
How Is Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will review your health history and do a physical exam. He or she can easily notice a fast heartbeat by taking your pulse. But, it is important to rule out other causes for the fast heartbeat. It is also important to learn what type of tachycardia is present. Other types of tachycardia may need different treatment.
Your healthcare provider might use tests to help make this diagnosis. These include:
- Electrocardiogram, to analyze the hearts electrical rhythm and the type of tachycardia
- Continuous monitoring of the heart rhythm , to check the rhythm for a longer period of time
- Blood tests, to look for other causes of the fast heartbeat
- Echocardiogram, to check the fluid around the heart and heart motion
- Chest X-ray, to view the heart and lungs
IST is sometimes diagnosed in error as an anxiety disorder.
Cleveland Clinic Heart Vascular & Thoracic Institute Cardiologists And Surgeons
Choosing a doctor to treat your abnormal heart rhythm depends on where you are in your diagnosis and treatment. The following Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute Sections and Departments treat patients with Arrhythmias:
- Section of Electrophysiology and Pacing: cardiology evaluation for medical management or electrophysiology procedures or devices – Call Cardiology Appointments at toll-free 800.223.2273, extension 4-6697 or request an appointment online.
- Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery: surgery evaluation for surgical treatment for atrial fibrillation, epicardial lead placement, and in some cases if necessary, lead and device implantation and removal. For more information, please contact us.
When To Call Your Doctor
The heart is arguably the most important organ in the body. If something goes wrong, the consequences are sometimes fatal. Some heart problems may not be as detrimental as a heart attack, but this doesnt mean they shouldnt be taken seriously.
You should go to the doctor if your heart rate has been within a normal range and suddenly is not. This might indicate you have a heart problem like arrhythmia which is an abnormal heart rhythm, tachycardia which is when the heart beats consistently at over 100 bpm, or bradycardia which is a low heart rate thats less than 60 bpm.
You should seek emergency care if your rapid heart rate is resulting in symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, palpitations, or dizziness, says Evan Jacobs, MD, the Regional Medical Director in Cardiovascular Services atConviva Care Centers. In general, a sustained heart rate above 130 beats per minute, regardless of symptoms, should prompt urgent evaluation. Your primary care doctor or cardiologist should be alerted to rates between 100 and 130 beats per minute and can decide on the need for emergency care on a case-by-case basis.
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Key Points About Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia
- In IST, the heart rate sometimes increases abnormally. You may have episodes in which the heart rate increases above 100 beats per minute.
- Sometimes, the heart rate increases on its own. Other times, the heart rate increases because of a trigger. But it increases more than it should.
- Some people dont have any symptoms from IST. But others do.
- Possible treatments vary depending on the severity of your symptoms.
- It may help to avoid potential triggers, like caffeine and nicotine and any other triggers you know cause IST.
Treatment For Low Blood Pressure And High Pulse Rate
Treatment will depend on your underlying cause, with most requiring their own unique form of therapy. For example, neurally mediated hypotension is often treated with a combination of blood pressure medication and increased salt and water intake. However, this will not cure the condition, but rather help you manage it. Treatment for NMH will require persistence, commitment, and willingness to try several other drug and therapy combinations to help control the problem. Drugs known for improving NMH include fludrocortisone , beta-blockers , disopyramide , fluoxetine , sertraline , ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, theophylline, methylphenidate , and midodrine.
If your condition is benign and not due to any serious underlying problem, the following changes to your lifestyle may provide some help with low blood pressure.
Therapies employed to remedy cases of low blood pressure and high heart rate often do not cure the problem and should be managed with the guidance of an experienced physician. If you were to suddenly stop any prescribed treatment plans, symptoms may return or even worsen. It is important to recognize situations that may lead to symptom exacerbation and to avoid triggers. However, many of the conditions leading to low blood pressure and high pulse rate have not been extensively studied, with more research being required.
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Treatments For High Pulse Rate
The goals of treatment for tachycardia are to stop a fast pulse rate when it occurs, to prevent future occurrences, and to reduce complications.
Stop a fast cardiac rate
Fast heartbeats may be self-limiting, but you may be able to slow down your heart rate by using simple vagal maneuvers which can help regulate tachycardia. These can be done by coughing forcefully, bearing down or by simply placing an ice pack on the face.
You may also need medically prescribed medications to stop fast heartbeats, and these include oral anti-arrhythmic drugs like propafenone or flecainide . If you are brought to the hospital, other anti-arrhythmic drugs may be injected to restore your normal heart rate. In serious cases, a cardioversion may be required, which involves the delivery of a shock wave to the heart using electrical currents.
Prevent future episodes
Future occurrences of tachycardia may be prevented by using different methods, such as the use of anti-arrhythmic medications which may be taken in combination with other heart medications like channel blockers or beta blockers .
When medications fail to prevent further episodes, other means may be employed, such as catheter ablation, pacemaker implantation, or cardioverter-defibrillator implantation . Other people may need an open heart surgery to destroy or interrupt abnormal electrical pathways that cause life threatening tachycardia.
Whats An Elevated Heart Rate
A resting heart rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute is considered normal for adults. But it can vary based on your age and fitness level. For example, well-conditioned athletes can have a resting heart rate as low as 40 beats per minute, according to the American Heart Association.
“Whenever you get a consistently higher heart rate, more than 100 in an otherwise healthy person, at rest, it’s something that may need to be evaluated,” says Rakesh Gopinathannair, MD, an electrophysiologist with the Kansas City Heart Rhythm Institute and a professor of medicine at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
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Treatment Of Fast Heart Rate
Treat the Underlying Cause: Most important is to ensure there is no underlying systemic problem that is causing the fast heart rate. If there is anemia, for example, that will need to be treated. Infection and dehydration would need to be treated. Hormonal imbalances would require treating. Medications will be reviewed and any potential offending agents will need to be stopped if possible.
Medications: It is important not just to treat a number the reason underlying must be sought out. If the fast heart rate is thought to be from a cardiac cause then the appropriate treatment should be given. If there is significant muscle dysfunction then treatment aimed at strengthening the heart is given. If there are problems with the electrical system of the heart then medicines to slow the rate may be given such a beta blockers or calcium channel blockers. In some cases stronger medicines that prevent the occurrence of the arrhythmia in the first place may be prescribed, known as anti-arrhythmic medications. Specialists known as electrophysiologists typically prescribe anti-arrhythmic medications.
The Faster The Heart Rate The Shorter The Lifespan
True: In a large study of people going for a health checkup in China, those who had a high-normal resting heart rate of 80 bpm to 90 BPM had a 40 percent shorter lifespan than those with a desirable heart rate of 60 BPM to 69 BPM.
However, the good news is that 15 minutes to 30 minutes of daily moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, could eliminate the increased mortality and reverse the life-span loss, the researchers say.
The study underlines the important role that physical activity can play in keeping your heart healthy and giving you a longer life, Dr. Laffin says.
Even moderate activity has benefits, he says. So there is no longer any reason to stay on the couch.
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What Causes Ventricular Tachycardia
Your heart rate is controlled by electrical signals that move across the heart muscle. When something goes wrong and signals are sent too quickly, it can cause tachycardia. Most patients with ventricular tachycardia have another heart problem, such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, an enlarged heart or heart valve disease. The condition can also develop after a heart attack or heart surgery because of scar tissue that forms on the heart. Other, non-heart-related causes of ventricular tachycardia include some medications, an imbalance in electrolytes , too much caffeine or alcohol, recreational drugs, exercise, and certain genetically transmitted conditions. Sometimes the cause is unknown. You are also more likely to have ventricular tachycardia as you get older or if you have a family history of heart rhythm disorders.
Blood Pressure And Heart Rate Are Always Linked
False: It is true that blood pressure and heart rate often rise and fall together, Dr. Laffin says. When you face danger, for example, your blood pressure and pulse may both jump upward at the same time. However, if your heart rate rises, that doesnt automatically mean your blood pressure will rise or vice versa.
When the two are disconnected, you may be looking at a specific problem, Dr. Laffin says. For example, if you are dehydrated, bleeding or have a severe infection, blood pressure typically decreases and heart rate increases.
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What Are The Possible Heart Issues After Covid
COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, can damage heart muscle and affect heart function.
There are several reasons for this. The cells in the heart have angiotensin converting enzyme-2 receptors where the coronavirus attaches before entering cells. Heart damage can also be due to high levels of inflammation circulating in the body. As the bodys immune system fights off the virus, the inflammatory process can damage some healthy tissues, including the heart.
Coronavirus infection also affects the inner surfaces of veins and arteries, which can cause blood vessel inflammation, damage to very small vessels and blood clots, all of which can compromise blood flow to the heart or other parts of the body. Severe COVID-19 is a disease that affects endothelial cells, which form the lining of the blood vessels, Post says.
High Heart Rate After Surgery
All the surgeries have the potential for some given risks, even if theyre the routine procedures. One of the risks is normally the alteration of the blood pressure. People can have the high blood pressure after surgery for several reasons.
Whether or not you are developing the complication depends much on the type of surgery that youre having, the type of anesthesia as well as the medications that are administered, and whether or not you have had issues with the blood pressure before.
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Elevated Heart Rate Most Likely Caused By Medical Condition
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What is sinus tachycardia? What causes it? How is it treated?
Sinus tachycardia is the term used to describe a faster-than-normal heartbeat a rate of more than 100 beats per minute versus the typical normal of 60 to 70 beats per minute. Well over 99 percent of the time, sinus tachycardia is perfectly normal. The increased heart rate doesn’t harm the heart and doesn’t require medical treatment.
The term sinus tachycardia has nothing to do with sinuses around the nose and cheeks. Rather, it comes from the sinus node, a thumbnail-sized structure in the upper right chamber of the heart. This structure controls the heart rate and is called the heart’s natural pacemaker.
The sinus node signals the heart to speed up during exercise or in situations that are stressful, frightening or exciting. For example, a 10- to 15-minute brisk walk typically elevates the heart rate to 110 to 120 beats per minute. Also, the sinus node increases the heart rate when the body is stressed because of illness. In all of these circumstances, the heart rate increase is a normal response.
Likewise, the sinus node signals the heart to slow down during rest or relaxation.
For some patients, the elevated heart rate is the only symptom. Some have a lifelong history of sinus tachycardia in the 110 beats per minute range, and they lead a normal, healthy life. And often the inappropriate sinus tachycardia will improve in time without treatment.