How To Slow A Fast Heart Rate
Tachycardia is a condition where your heart rate is very high. How fast your heart beats depends on your age and overall physical condition. In general, a heart rate thats above 100 beats per minute is considered too high for adults. A very fast heart rate can be disturbing and reason to panic. However, some causes of a rapid heart rate can be harmless. For instance, if your heart beats very fast after climbing a flight of stairs, you can slow it down by relaxing and taking deep breaths. But, if you suddenly feel your resting heart racing accompanied by chest pain, you should call 911 immediately.
If Your Heart Is Beating So Fast It Feels Like Its About To Burst You Could Have A Serious Condition Or It Could Be Nothing To Worry About Heres What To Do
We all know the feeling of a bounding, fast pulse after exercising or when were furious about something. But, what if it happens while youre reading a book or watching TV? A racing pulse can be caused by a wide variety of conditions, from the benign to the serious.
It depends on the context in which your symptoms appear, says Helga Van Herle, MD, a cardiologist at Keck Medicine of USC and an associate professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. But, if you feel like youre going to faint or if you experience lightheadedness, chest pain or sudden shortness of breath while your pulse is racing, you should seek urgent medical attention.
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.
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How To Lower Your Heart Rate
Staying physically active by doing moderate to vigorous exercise regularly is one of the best ways to achieve a lower heart rate that leads to a healthy and long life.
Changes in your lifestyle that may lower your heart rate include:
- Reducing the intake of coffee and caffeine-containing products
- Avoiding binge drinking
- Intake of a healthy diet to keep weight under check
- Doing deep breathing to manage stress and anxiety
If your heart rate becomes too high suddenly, and you feel shortness of breath or chest pain, you need to consult your doctor immediately to get medications prescribed for you. This could be a sign of an impending heart attack or other life-threatening heart problems.
Fast Heart Rate Overview And Conclusion
A fast heart rate although often defined as a heart rate over 90 is not necessarily abnormal and each case is different. History, physical exam and diagnostic testing are required in order to determine the significance of the heart rate and to see if any treatment is required. Treatment for non-cardiac causes of fast heart rate is to address the underlying cause. In the case of cardiac causes of fast heart rate, typically medication will be tried first or in some cases a procedure required particularly if the problem is with the electrical system of the heart.
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You Have An Anxiety Disorder
Theres also a chance youre dealing with something more than typical everyday stress like we talked about above. Persistent, excessive worry might signal one of several anxiety disorders, like generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or separation anxiety disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic. While each of these anxiety disorders manifests in different ways , they have a few very important symptoms in commonincluding a racing heart.
A racing heart could also be a sign of a panic attack, which are episodes of extreme anxiety common in anxiety disorders, especially panic disorder. Panic attacks are characterized by sudden, unexpected, often paralyzing bouts of fear, and panic disorder happens when a person experiences recurrent, sudden attacks that leave them scared to have another one. A rapid heartbeat is a common panic attack symptom, and it can terrify people even more. You start releasing more adrenaline, and it becomes this vicious cycle, Dr. Mills-Frazier says, adding that sometimes its difficult to tease out whether a rapid heartbeat contributes to someone having a panic attack or vice versa. If you think youre having panic attacks, dont suffer in silence. Talk to your doctor or therapist to figure out which treatment option can best help you avoid these awful episodes.
Atrial Fibrillation & Strokes
Atrial fibrillation is a serious condition that can be life-threatening. As many as six million people in the US may have atrial fibrillation. But one in three people who have A-Fib dont know they have it.
A-Fib may also increase your chances of having a stroke.
Thats because A-Fibs irregular heartbeat lets blood pool inside the upper chambers of your heart. This pooled blood can cause blood clots, which can then travel out of your heart and into your brain, which causes a stroke.
If you think you may have A-Fib, its important to make an appointment with a cardiologist.
Reduce Caffeine And Alcohol Intake
Excessive caffeine and alcohol in your bloodstream raise blood pressure and heart rate. While the elevated heart rate is temporary it can cause panic attacks and anxiety. Alcohol is a toxin and your body works extra hard to eliminate it, thereby, straining your heart. Both caffeine and alcohol cause dehydration which increase the workload of your heart. Cutting caffeine and alcohol consumption will gradually slow your heart rate.
What Is A Rapid Heartbeat
A rapid heartbeat, or tachycardia, is a condition in which the heart is beating fast, generally more than 100 beats per minute for an adult. A rapid heartbeat can be normal, or it can result from a disease, disorder or other harmful condition.
The heart pumps blood to the lungs and the rest of the body by contracting its four chambers. The two upper chambers are the atria and the two lower chambers are the ventricles. The sinus node, a small group of cells in your right atrium, transmits an electrical impulse through the heart, causing the atria to contract. The impulse travels through the ventricles, enabling them to contract and pump blood throughout the body. The number of times the heart beats per minute is called the heart rate. The rate of these contractions is determined by nerve impulses and hormones in the blood.
The rate at which your heart beats varies continuously, rising and falling in response to many conditions and situations. For example, your heart rate will rise during strenuous activity in order to ensure that all the cells of the body receive sufficient amounts of oxygen-rich blood. The heartbeat may also become faster in response to stressful situations or when you are in . Your heartbeat is normally lower during periods of relaxation or sleep. The average adult resting heart rate falls within the range of 60 to 80 beats per minute.
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Is Your Racing Heart A Sign Of Supraventricular Tachycardia
Approximately 2 in every 1,000 people have SVT, a type of arrhythmia that can often be cured. Learn more about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
If youve ever experienced a sudden racing heartbeat, you know how unsettling the feeling can be.
While there are many potential causes of a fast heartbeat, one of the more common forms is supraventricular tachycardia, or SVT.
SVT symptoms heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness or lightheadedness can be alarming, but the condition is usually treatable and can often be cured, says Michigan Medicine electrophysiologist Rakesh Latchamsetty, M.D.
First, he says, the type of arrhythmia responsible for the symptoms needs to be determined since different arrhythmias can be treated very differently and some can be more serious than others.
A person experiencing a rapid heartbeat should consult with their physician, and anyone experiencing unrelenting palpitations or severe symptoms should be seen in the emergency room, says Latchamsetty.
How Is It Treated
If you have tachycardia, your treatment team will work with you to offer appropriate treatment options that can restore your heart to normal rhythm, regulate your heart rate and prevent blood clots.
Your treatment will depend on the specific type of tachycardia you have and may include:
- Medication. Your doctor may prescribe drugs alone or in combination with other treatments. You may need a medicine that slows your heart rate, restores normal rhythm, prevents blood clots or thins your blood.
- Implantable cardioverter defibrillator . If you’re diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia, your doctor may recommend an implantable cardioverter defibrillator. This small device monitors your heart’s rhythm and delivers bursts of electrical energy to restore a normal heart rhythm.
- Catheter radiofrequency ablation. In cardiac catheter ablation you get a mild sedative and a local anesthetic. Then your doctor threads thin, flexible tubes through your blood vessels. Radiofrequency energy given through the catheter removes abnormal tissue.
- Open-heart maze procedure. If you have atrial fibrillationthe most common kind of tachycardiayour doctor may recommend a maze procedure to regulate your heartbeat.
- Follow-up care. If you’re recovering from heart surgery or medical device implantation, your doctor may recommend cardiac rehabilitation. Cardiac rehabilitation consists of monitored exercise sessions during your recovery period.
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Perform The Valsalva Maneuver
The Valsalva maneuver is a breathing technique that leads to several rapid changes in our heart rate.
How to do it:
- Pinch your nose closed with the fingers of one hand
- Close your mouth
- Exhale, as if you are inflating a balloon
- Bear down, as if you are having a bowel movement
- Do this technique for about 1015 seconds.
What Other Symptoms Might Occur With A Rapid Heartbeat
A rapid heartbeat may occur with or without noticeable symptoms, which can vary depending on the underlying cause. If you know how to take your own pulse, you will generally feel a rapid pulse at the wrist with a rapid heartbeat. However, in some types of serious rapid heartbeats, such as , it may be difficult to feel and count an accurate pulse because the heart is not pumping blood effectively enough to produce a strong pulse.
If you are exercising and are in general good health, you might have a fast pulse and feel mildly short of breath during exertion. Normally, the rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath go away quickly after you slow down or stop your workout.
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Diagnosis Of Rapid Heart Rate In Dogs
As with most veterinarian visits, the doctor will conduct a thorough physical examination of your dog, which may include blood tests and a urinalysis both to narrow down potential causes for your dogs symptoms and to assess your dogs overall health. As part of this examination, the veterinarian will need a full history, so be prepared to provide information on the onset and duration of your dogs clinical signs.
Tachycardia itself is diagnosed via electrocardiography , which assesses the electrical activity of the heart. Based on the results of the electrocardiograph exam, the veterinarian will be able to determine your dogs heart rate, though a Holter monitor worn for 24-hours may be needed for a definitive diagnosis. If the veterinarian is still not having success identifying the core issue, further testing, such as an echocardiogram or a complete blood count, may be required to discover the cause of the rapid heart rate.
How Do You Know Your Heart Rate
Your heart rate is a measure of how fast your heart beats and is also an important indicator of good health. Your doctor will always make it a point to measure your heart rate whenever you visit him for your routine health checkup or any health-related problem.
While the heart rate is routinely examined by your doctor, you can also measure your heart rate. With the help of your middle finger and index finger, you have to first try to feel and locate your pulse at any of the following places
- The inner side of your elbow
- The base of the toe
- The side of your neck
The wrist is the most commonly used and convenient place to check your heart rate. Once you locate the pulse on your wrist, you have to gently press on it for 60 seconds and count the beats. This is how you will know your heart rate, which will be in beats per minute.
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Key Points To Remember
- Supraventricular tachycardia is an abnormally rapid heart rate up to 300 beats per minute in infants and 250 beats per minute or faster in older children.
- A physician should evaluate any irregular heartbeat.
- SVT is the result of an electrical malfunction in the heart.
- Although generally not life-threatening, SVT may cause chest discomfort, a racing heart, dizziness, and in rare cases, people may lose consciousness.
- Infants with SVT often outgrow the disorder, but persistent problems can require medications or catheter ablation.
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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How Do I Get My Heart Rate In The Target Zone
When you work out, are you doing too much or not enough? Theres a simple way to know: Your target heart rate helps you hit the bullseye so you can get max benefit from every step, swing and squat. Even if youre not a gym rat or elite athlete, knowing your heart rate can help you track your health and fitness level.
Massage Your Carotid Artery
The carotid artery runs down your throat, just below your jaw, and is located next to the vagal nerve. By firmly massaging the carotid artery using your fingertips, you can stimulate the vagal nerve which might help slow down your heart rate. Note that extra caution should be taken because you could accidentally knock off a piece of a blood clot and cause a stroke. If possible only allow a qualified person to do these exercises. These tips will come in handy when you notice a sudden spike in your heart rate. However, if this is something that occurs often, the following tips will be helpful in the long run:
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Fast Heart Rate What Tests Are Needed
History The initial most important thing is a good history. Are there associated symptoms of palpitations, light-headedness, fatigue, and dizziness or passing out? Is there associated chest pain or shortness of breath? Is the fast heart rate intermittent or constant and do the symptoms only appear when the heart rate is elevated? What happens to the blood pressure when the heart rate is elevated? Is there a history of heart disease or prior testing? These questions are critical in determining the seriousness of the situation and determining the work up required. If there are alarm symptoms such as above then the heart rate needs work up and should not be ignored.
Physical Exam Is the heart rate regular or irregular when it is fast. Are there physical exam signs of heart failure such as fluid retention? Also a thorough physical exam can point toward other systemic problems such a thyroid issues or other.
EKG A baseline EKG is key. Is the heart rhythm normal or abnormal? Is there any evidence of abnormality of the heart rate or conduction system of the heart? It is particularly useful to perform an EKG during the period of fast heart rate as it may help clinch the diagnosis if there is a cardiac cause.
Blood work Basic blood tests will be performed to rule out anemia or electrolyte abnormalities, thyroid function testing may be performed. Other testing may be performed as indicated.
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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