Should You Worry About Your Fast Heart Rate?

By Dr Robert Kelly

07 Apr, 2018


Your heart rate can change depending on whether you are standing up or lying down, moving around or sitting still, are feeling stressed or relaxed.  

While you are sitting and doing nothing, your heart rate slips into the slower, steady pace known as your resting heart rate. The normal resting heart rate for adults is between 60 to 100 beats a minute. Usually, most people have a heart rate somewhere between 65-85 beats per minute.

What Causes A Fast Heart Rate?
A heart rate greater than 100 beats per minute at rest, is defined as a fast heart rate. However, that which is considered typically fast, may depend on lots of individual variables specific to your age and your health. Genes do play a role, and so does age tend to speed it up.

Heart rates that are consistently above 100, even while you’re sitting quietly can mean that  is there is  something that’s disrupting the normal electrical impulses that control the rate of your heart's pumping action. Certain  medical conditions, medications, caffeine, alcohol, stress, dehydration etc can cause or contribute to the disruption in the heart's electrical system and force your heart to beat more to pump enough blood to the rest of the body.

A high heart rate can also be a sign of heart disease, including coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathy (a problem with the heart muscle).

Should you be concerned?
A fast heart rate is a cause for concern because it may be a signal that your heart isn’t working well.  

If you have frequent incidents of unexplained fast heart rates, particularly if it causes chest pain, shortness of breath, activity intolerance or extreme fatigue you need to be concerned and seek emergency medical attention.

Even if your fast heart rates are short-lived and there are no other bothersome signs or symptoms, consulting your doctor, can help you know for sure whether you need to be concerned.

It is important to know your symptoms and work with your cardiologist to determine your treatment needs and to understand your treatment options.  At the same time, it is important to maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle and reduce your overall risk as much as possible.

It is important to know how to take your pulse as it allows you to monitor your heart rate !

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