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:
- Cardiac arrhythmia , including atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter
- Supraventricular tachycardia
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.
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.
How Do You Calm A Racing Heart
If you think youre having an attack, try these to get your heartbeat back to normal:
Recommended Reading: Why Do Av Nodal Cells Not Determine The Heart Rate
When The Heartbeat Is Irregular
Medically known as arrhythmia, this is when your heart rhythm is abnormal. It does not mean that your heart beats too fast or too slow it just means that your heart is not in a regular rhythm.
The heart usually beats at regular and synchronized times with an internal electrical circuit called pacemaker that controls the rhythm. Abnormalities in this chain can cause fast, slow or irregular heart rhythms.
Arrhythmia can be urgent or not dangerous at all. Irregular heartbeats can occur even if your heart is healthy. That can happen because of:
- Changes in your heart muscle or heart structure
- Heart attack Injury
- The healing process after heart surgery
- Heart disease
What Is A Normal Heart Rate
When we talk about your heart rate, then it refers to your resting heart rate medically defined as the lowest amount of blood you need when you are not exercising or doing any activities. Your resting heart rate is the rate at which your heart pumps the minimum amount of blood you need for daily activities.
The standard resting heart rate for adults, including adults and people over ten years, is between 60 and 100 beats per minute . It is usual for the heart rate to slow in childhood to adolescence. To elaborate, this is a standard limit value for heart rate based on age.
- 70 190 bpm: Newborns below one month
- 80 169 bpm: Between the age of 1 11 months
- 80 130 bpm: Age 1 2
- 80 120 bpm: Age 3 4
- 75 115 bpm: Age 5 6
- 70 110 bpm: Age 7 9 years
- 60 90 bpm: Age 10 18
- 55 80 bpm: Age 18 and above
In trained athletes, their heart rates can average between 40 and 60 beats per minute.
Many factors affect resting heart rate. Genes play a role. Ageing tends to speed it up, while regular exercise tends to slow it down. Stress, medication, and disease also affect the heart rate.
We can have standard heart rates healthily with changes in body conditions, including body temperature, exercise, and emotions such as anxiety and agitation.
Also Check: What Causes Left Sided Heart Failure
My Chest Infection Caused My Heart Rate To Beat At Over 200 Beats Per Minutethis Has Worried Me
Hello all.I was watching the TV the other night and suddenly my heart beat was going so fast I could feel it in my throat.the experience was awfully painful.At first I thought it was a anxiety attack but they only usually last an hour so this was going on for at least 11 hours.my partner called the ambulance and I was taken to hospital.They had to give me a drug to slow my heart rate. Down.Eventually it slowed down to 72 and I felt so much better.It turns out that i have a chest infection.But how can a chest infection cause a rapid heart rate.If anyone could give me some advice I would be very grateful.thanks.kelly
0 likes, 8 replies
Sorry to hear you felt unwell recently.
As I understand any infection we get can cause an increase in our heart rate as its our bodies way of trying ti self heal. If on top of that you were a little anxious too that would maje the increase even higher.
If you had a cause for your increase that has now subsided and you’ve been reassured your heart is structually ok hopefully you will not continue to suffer.
Good luck for the future
Posted 5 years ago
Thanks for response and also thanks for scaring the crap out of me now my heart has definitely fast.my heart didn’t skip a beat and it wasn’t irregular.thanks
Calculating Resting Heart Rate:
To get started, do the following to measure your heart rate:
- Place your index finger and middle finger on your neck beside your windpipe or, you can place two fingers between the bones and tendons above your radial artery, which is located on the side of the thumb of the wrist.
- When you feel your heartbeat, count the number of beats per 15 seconds. Double this number by 4 to count the number of beats per minute.
To avoid miscalculating your heart rate, we advise you not to measure your heart rate within 1-2 hours after exercise or after a stressful event. Your heart can stay high after strenuous activity. You also have to wait at least an hour after consuming caffeine, because this can make your heartbeat and your heart rate increases.
Does your resting heart rate not within the normal range given above, then this always indicate a medical condition?
Recommended Reading: What Are The Early Signs Of Congestive Heart Failure
When To Go To The Hospital For A Rapid Heart Rate
So, when should someone go to the emergency room for an atrial fibrillation attack? The answer is different for everyone.
For people newly diagnosed with the condition, it is much more likely that they will require medical attention to improve symptoms, and to help ease their concerns and provide education. People living with this condition for longer periods of time are more likely to have plans and strategies to help reduce their attacks, and will be able to better identify more severe episodes.
In many cases, your doctor can give you tips on when urgent medical attention is needed based on your personal medical history, as well as provide tips for at-home management.
As a general guideline for everyone, I recommend that you go to the emergency room for a AFib attack if:
You feel short of breath, dizzy, or light headed
Any attempt at reducing your symptoms is not successful
You feel out of control or stressed
You are alone and dont have anyone around to help monitor your symptoms
You are experiencing chest pain
In this video I will discuss tips for managing an AFib Attack. Understand when is the ideal time to seek emergency attention.
Why Is My Heart Beating So Fast
If that happens, a lot of people have that especially when they exercise. If it’s bothersome, a cardiologist can do an oblation where they find the spot that’s causing that premature beat and get rid of it. But usually, it’s not a serious thing where you need to rush right into the ER and get that diagnosed.
Recommended Reading: Ejection Fraction At Rest
Symptoms Of A Fast Heart Rate
Many people dont have symptoms when they find out they have a fast heart rate. They often just notice it when checking their pulse rate, or from a blood pressure machine or a Fitbit type accessory. Some patients may feel tired, short of breath, dizzy or fatigued. If the heart rate is particularly fast people may notice a thumping sensation or palpitations. If the heart rate is particularly fast, there may be a sensation of light-headedness or feeling of faintness. In the case of SVT that comes and goes at unpredictable times, there may be intermittent palpitations and light-headedness. When the palpitations come on, some patients may have associated chest pain that on occasion can point to underlying heart artery disease. If the palpitations are more serious, people may pass out as a result.
Treatment For Heart Palpitations
Heart palpitation treatment depends on your doctor and getting to the root cause of the problem.
In case palpitations are due to lifestyle choices such as smoking or consuming too much caffeine, cutting down or eliminating those substances may help. If it is medication-related palpitations, your doctor may change medicines to see if that will resolve the issue.
Read Also: What Causes Left Sided Heart Failure
Types And Causes Of Tachycardia
The rapid heart rate of tachycardia isnt necessarily serious, but it can be treated, if necessary, depending on what is causing it. Heres a breakdown:
- Sinus tachycardiaThis is the totally normal, bounding-heart feeling we get when upset, or during or after exercise. The heart is beating correctly, just fast.
- Supraventricular tachycardia This type of fast pulse originates in the atria, the upper chambers of the heart. The electrical impulses that regulate your heartbeat short-circuit, resulting in a fast heart rate. SVT is the most common cause of heart rhythm problems in children it is also linked with anxiety, fatigue, drinking lots of caffeine or alcohol, and smoking. SVT isnt often serious, and lifestyle modifications or medications may help to reduce episodes.
- Ventricular tachycardiaVentricular tachycardia originates in the lower chambers of the heart, or ventricles, and can be serious. As with SVT, with ventricular tachycardia, the electrical impulse that regulates the heart rate misfires, causing a fast rhythm. This often occurs in people who already have a heart condition, such as cardiomyopathy, or weakened heart muscles. It can also be caused by some medications and illegal substances, like cocaine. Depending on the cause, ventricular tachycardia may be treated with medication or surgery.
What Causes Tachycardia
Sometimes tachycardia is normal sinus tachycardia is just the way the body responds to stressors like fever, fear, anxiety and strenuous exercise. This is usually not a concern.
But sometimes tachycardia signifies a health problem. Arrhythmias are one of the main risk factors for stroke.
Causes of abnormal tachycardia include:
If you notice your heart racing or beating irregularly, you should see your doctor.
Your doctor will talk to you and examine you. Tests to diagnose tachycardia include:
- Electrocardiogram checks how effectively the electrical signals of your heart are working.
- Exercise stress test monitors how your heart responds to different levels of physical activity.
- Holter monitor a monitor of the heart beat rhythm that is worn for 24 hours.
- Echocardiogram an ultrasound that looks at the structure of the heart valves, walls and chambers.
Don’t Miss: Flonase And Heart Palpitations
How Your Heart Works
Your heart has a right side and a left side, separated by a wall. Each side has a small collecting chamber , which leads into a large pumping chamber . There are four chambers the left atrium and right atrium , and the left ventricle and right ventricle .
Normally, the upper chambers of your heart contract first and push blood into the lower chambers . The ventricles then contract the right ventricle pumping blood to your lungs and the left ventricle pumping blood to the rest of your body.
In a healthy heart, heartbeats are set off by tiny electrical signals that come from your hearts natural pacemaker a small area of your heart called the sinus node, located in the top of the right atrium. These signals travel rapidly throughout the atria to make sure that all the hearts muscle fibres contract at the same time, pushing blood into the ventricles.
These same electrical signals are passed on to the ventricles via the atrioventricular node and cause the ventricles to contract a short time later, after they have been filled with blood from the atria. This normal heart rhythm is called the sinus rhythm, because it is controlled by the sinus node.
How The Heart Works
The heart has two upper chambers and two lower chambers .
The atria and ventricles have walls of muscle. A heartbeat happens when this muscle suddenly contracts so that the chambers become smaller and the blood inside is squeezed out.
The control of the heartbeat starts with a small clump of cells in the right atrium, called the sinoatrial node . This sends out electrical impulses through the atrial muscle to another clump of cells called the atrioventricular node, found between the atria and ventricles. The impulse then continues through the AV node down fibres that conduct the impulse into the muscle of the ventricles.
The AV node determines the rate of contraction of the ventricles. The pulse felt at the wrist is due to the contraction of the ventricles.
Recommended Reading: Can Ibs Cause Heart Palpitations
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.
Those May Interest You:
My sincere condolences Gina … and I’m sure that the site owners share that sentiment with me.
End of life is always a challenge. My sister is a nurse specializing in end of life monitoring … I don’t know quite how she does it … because you just have no idea when it will actually happen. My own mother died early this year age 85. Her heart was dodgy … She went into hospital one evening. They thought she was recovering. A few hours later her heart simply stopped. My step father, 96, died a few weeks later … unconscious for 2 weeks … he just hung on and on and on. He had been expected to go many weeks earlier.
Either way is hard on the family. Look after yourself and your family in these sad times.
Recommended Reading: Can Flonase Cause Heart Palpitations
Afib Symptoms That Could Require Urgent Medical Attention
Atrial fibrillation can present itself in different ways depending on a persons medical history and the severity of the episode. It is essential to understand the most common symptoms of atrial fibrillation and to be able identify an AFib attack early before more dangerous symptoms progress. Some of the most common symptoms of an AFib episode include:
Heart palpitations or feeling like your heart skipped a beat
Shortness of breath
It is important to note that some patients with AFib will have an elevated heart rate and will experience no symptoms at all. This is why monitoring your symptoms and assessing your personal baseline is essential for identifying the onset of a possibly dangerous AFib attack. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms in a way that makes you feel stressed, uncomfortable, or like you are out of control, that is when seeking medical attention at your nearest emergency room is essential.
Types Of Fast Heart Rate
Fast heart rates can occur in different parts of your heart. Doctors identify different types of fast heart rate, related to the location in which they occur. These include:
- , often referred to as afib: a rapid, caused by irregular electrical impulses in the atria, which are the upper chambers of your heart. Afib is the most common type of tachycardia.
- Atrial flutter: A rapid, regular heartbeat, sometimes experienced by people who also suffer from atrial fibrillation
- Sinus tachycardia: This occurs when your body responds to stimuli such as exercise or emotional distress with a normal increase in heart rate.
- Supraventricular tachycardia : A fast heartbeat that starts above the lower chambers of the heart
- Ventricular tachycardia : A rapid rate caused by abnormal electrical signals in the lower chambers of the heart, called ventricles. Episodes of VT that last longer than a few seconds can be life-threatening.
- Ventricular fibrillation: A fast rate that occurs when rapid, irregular electrical impulses cause the lower chambers of your heart to quiver instead of pumping blood to your body. This type can be deadly and may require your heart to be restored to normal rhythm via electric shock to the heart.
Potential severe complications of fast heart rate depend on which type of tachycardia you have, how fast your heart is beating , how long your rapid heart rate lasts, and whether you have other . Some of the more serious consequences are:
Don’t Miss: Can Ibs Cause Heart Palpitations