What Are The Common Causes Of A High Resting Heart Rate
A resting heart rate is considered high if it falls above 100 beats per minute, the upper range of a normal heart rate, although some patients may choose to be evaluated for possible treatment if the heart rate is consistently above 80 or even 70 beats per minute. This rate can be caused by a number of things, from an infection somewhere in the body to dehydration or anxiety. While having a high resting heart rate for infrequent and short periods of time, such as during a fever, is not necessarily dangerous, it should be evaluated and treated by a doctor if it remains consistently above normal for an extended time because it increases the risk of problems such as heart attacks and strokes. Some people with a chronically high heart rate may need to be put on medication for the condition, but in many cases, the rate can be lowered simply by pinpointing and removing or treating the specific cause.
The resting heart rate is often the result of the body’s reaction to relatively normal physiological reactions. Stress, anxiety, and dehydration can all be causes for a high rate. Being out of shape physically can make the heart work harder to maintain a normal level of circulation, causing it to beat faster. Counterintuitively, overtraining, or exercising too much, can also have the same effect.
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.
Diagnosing A Fast Heart Rate
Your doctor is likely to begin your evaluation with a physical exam, health history and an electrocardiogram , states the American Heart Association. If you’re not having an abnormal or elevated heart rate at the time, the machine may not pick up a problem.
Your doctor may instead recommend you wear a portable EKG for a week or more, according to the Heart Rhythm Society. This provides a continuous readout that will catch a high heart rate whenever it happens.
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Finding Your Current Heart Rate For Maximizing Your Exercise Plan
It’s not enough to know “Why does heart rate increase during exercise?” You should know your current heart rate for maximizing your exercise regimen. This helps you strengthen your heart to derive maximum benefit from it. With more exercise, it becomes easier to reach closer to the targeted heart rate that is around 90 percent of the maximum heart rate. When you start exercising, your target should be to reach 50 percent of your greatest heart rate.
To determine the heart rate you should aim for, you should subtract your current age from 220. The answer is your greatest heart rate and refers to the number of heart beats per minute. If you are 30, then your answer will be 190 , or 190 beats per minute.
While exercising, the heart rate can be checked with a heart rate monitoring device or by examining your pulse. Exercise machines such as treadmills or exercise bicycles have heart rate monitoring devices built on their handlebars.
So, find out your heart rate and begin maximizing it to become stronger. By now, you must be fully aware of the reasons why heart rate increases during exercise and why it is beneficial for you.
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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What To Expect At Your Office Visit
Your provider will examine you and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms.
You may be asked:
- Do you feel skipped or stopped beats?
- Does your heart rate feel slow or fast when you have the palpitations?
- Do you feel a racing, pounding, or fluttering?
- Is there a regular or irregular pattern to the unusual heartbeat sensations?
- Did the palpitations begin or end suddenly?
- When do the palpitations occur? In response to reminders of a traumatic event? When you are lying down and resting? When you change your body position? When you feel emotional?
- Do you have any other symptoms?
An electrocardiogram may be done.
If you go to an emergency room, you will be connected to a heart monitor. However, most people with palpitations do not need to go to an emergency room for treatment.
If your provider finds you have an abnormal heart rhythm, other tests may be done. This may include:
- Holter monitor for 24 hours, or another heart monitor for 2 weeks or longer
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.
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Heart Palpitations At Night
If you have frequent heart palpitations when resting or lying down, you should schedule a visit with your provider. Most of the time, heart palpitations at night arent harmful. But its important to see your provider to be sure they arent signs of a serious health problem.
Get help right away if you have heart palpitations and:
- Loss of consciousness or fainting .
- Severe swelling in your limbs, especially your legs, ankles and feet.
- Unusual or sudden fatigue.
You should also seek medical attention if your fitness device alerts you to a heart rate over 100.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If you often have heart palpitations at night, talk to your provider. Although most heart palpitations arent dangerous, you should schedule an evaluation. You can lower your risk of heart palpitations at night by eating right, avoiding alcohol and nicotine, and staying away from caffeine before bed. Try yoga and meditation to reduce stress and help you relax. Get help right away if heart palpitations happen along with chest pain, dizziness or shortness of breath.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/22/2021.
Sudden Increased Heart Rate
Normally, an adult’s heart beats 60 to 100 times per minute. You may experience an occasional sudden increase in heart rate that resolves within a few minutes. This is known as a heart palpitation, and it is usually not harmful. If your palpitations are persistent, recurring or if they happen along with other symptoms, you should see your doctor promptly.
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When To Seek Care
An occasional fast pulse or pounding sensation that doesn’t last long, known as a palpitation, typically isn’t something to worry about.
But, says Dr. Gopinathannair, if your heart is going at a sustained 170 or 180 beats a minute and you’re having rapid palpitations, pounding and associated symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain or dizziness, you may need an immediate evaluation in the ER. That’s because some types of arrhythmias can lead to life-threatening complications, including stroke, heart failure and cardiac arrest.
If your heart rate is more like 105 or 110 beats a minute and you feel otherwise normal except for occasional palpitations, Dr. Gopinathannair advises going to an urgent care center or seeing your primary care doctor.
Another reason to see a doctor is if you have episodes of fast heart rate that are persistent or frequent or that involve other sensations, says Dr. Gopinathannair. Examples are having a regular fast heart rate of 100 beats per minute or symptoms such as skipped beats or a flip-flopping sensation.
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How Do I Manage Heart Palpitations At Night
Most of the time, heart palpitations at night dont require treatment, especially if they only happen occasionally. You may be able to relieve heart palpitations at night yourself. If your heart is racing at night, you should:
- Breathe deeply: Try pursed lip breathing techniques, which involve long, deep breaths. You can also meditate and try other relaxation techniques to reduce stress.
- Drink a glass of water: If youre dehydrated, your heart has to work harder to pump blood.
- Roll over or get up and walk around: A change of position might be all you need to relieve heart palpitations. Try rolling over in bed, sitting up or going for a short walk around the room while taking deep breaths.
If a health condition is causing palpitations, your provider will treat the condition. Treatments vary depending on the cause. Sometimes, providers prescribe a type of medicine called beta blockers to treat palpitations. These medications slow the heart rate and reduce palpitations.
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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 .
Increased Heart Rate When Sick Is Normal As Your Body Tries To Get Rid Of The Illness However Elevated Heart Rate Can Also Indicate Something Else
For a healthy and normal adult who is resting, the heart should beat around 60 to 100 times within sixty seconds. Tachycardia is the name given to the condition of elevated heart rate when the person is resting. During tachycardia, the heart rate is either elevated in the upper heart chambers or the lower heart chambers or in some cases in both the chambers.
Elevated heart rate when sick can be worrisome, as people don’t know the answers to questions like “Does heart rate increase when sick? Let’s investigate these questions to understand when elevated heart rate isn’t an issue and when you should be worried by increased heartbeat.
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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.
Does Your Heart Beat Faster When You Are Sick
The heart functions differently when the body feels stressed or when the body is fighting an infection in order to help the body fight the stress and infection. To help out, the heart accelerates the rate at which it beats so as to facilitate the circulation of oxygen and immune cells which are needed to initiate the healing process. Bacteria or infection that causes a disease and is accompanied with fever often causes the heart rate to rise.
However, it’s not just bugs and bacteria which get such a response from the heart. Emotional troubles like anxiety or depression can also cause elevated heart rate. It’s important to keep a check on your heart rate by ensuring that your blood pressure is checked every now and then. If you find your blood pressure and heart rate elevated most of the times then you should immediately book an appointment with a doctor.
This is especially important if you find your heart rate elevated even without any obvious cause. Elevated heart rate when sick is understandable but elevated heart rate while you are resting is a worrying sign. To put it simply, if you find your heart rate over 85 while you are resting and can’t find any logical or obvious explanation for it then you should contact your doctor right away. There are many cases of tachycardia in which the heart rate soars to more than 200 beats every minute and brings symptoms like dizziness and shortness of breath.
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Treatment Options To Deal With Heart Racing At Night
Treatment options to deal with heart racing at night focuses on targeting the underlying cause. You should seek immediate medical attention if you also notice chest pain and discomfort, fainting, severe dizziness, and sudden shortness of breath.
Medications can help relieve heart racing at night or you may have to change medications you are taking if they are the cause.
If your nighttime heart racing is triggered by emotions, you will want to find ways to combat your anxiety or stress. You should also avoid substances and activities that can trigger heart racing prior to bed. This includes strenuous exercise, smoking, drinking alcohol, or eating too late at night.
If youre concerned that your heart racing at night is caused by a more serious health condition, you will want to book an appointment with your doctor to get properly diagnosed. After identifying the exact cause, your doctor can recommend you a specific treatment for your condition.
How Do Healthcare Providers Diagnose Heart Palpitations At Night
Your provider will ask about your symptoms and listen to your heart. They may recommend a blood test to look for anemia or infection. A blood test can also show signs of a vitamin deficiency or a problem with your thyroid.
To monitor your heart rate, they may do an electrocardiogram . This test measures your heart rate using sensors that attach to your skin. They may ask you to lie down during the test, which usually takes about 15 minutes.
Many times, an EKG doesnt detect heart palpitations. You might not have an irregular heartbeat during the test. If this happens, your provider may recommend an ambulatory electrocardiogram such as a Holter monitor. You wear this device for up to a week as you go about your daily activities. It records your heart rate and stores the information for your provider to review.
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Atria Ventricles And The Electrical Circuitry Of The Heart
The human heart consists of four chambers : the atria, which are the two upper chambers, and the ventricles, which are the two lower chambers.
The heart has a natural pacemaker, called the sinoatrial node, in the right atrium. This produces electrical impulses. Each one triggers an individual heartbeat.
As the electrical impulses leave the sinoatrial node, they cross the atria, making the atrial muscles contract. This contraction pushes blood into the ventricles.
The electrical impulses continue to the atrioventricular node, which is a cluster of cells. The AV node slows down the electrical signals, then sends them on to the ventricles.
In doing so, it allows time for the ventricles to fill with blood. When the ventricular muscles receive the electrical signals, they contract, pumping blood either to the lungs or to the rest of the body.
A problem with the electrical signals can result in a faster-than-normal heartbeat. This is tachycardia.
Tachycardia usually stems from a disruption in the normal electrical impulses that control the heartâs pumping action, or the rate at which the heart pumps.
Depending on the type and cause of tachycardia, the following factors may trigger it:
- a reaction to certain medications
- congenital irregularities of the heart
- consuming excessive amounts of alcohol or caffeine
- using cocaine or other recreational drugs
Treatment aims to address the cause, but a doctor may also try to: