Things you might not know about tachycardia

While resting, the normal heart beats range is 60 to 100 beats per minute. If a person's resting heart rate is consistently over 100 beats per minute, the person is considered to have a high heart rate, which is also known as tachycardia. Tachycardia can be caused by several factors:

  • Heart conditions – heart related conditions such as high blood pressure and poor blood supply to the heart muscle due to coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, heart failure, heart muscle disease, tumors or infections.

  • Health conditions – Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and emphysema and other lung diseases

  • Stimulants – drinking large amounts of alcoholic or caffeinated beverages, smoking cigarettes, and abuse of recreational drugs.

  • Others – abnormal electrical pathways caused by a genetic defect at birth, electrolyte imbalances in the body (too little potassium, calcium, sodium and other minerals), and side effects of heart medications.

Many people consider tachycardia as relatively harmless symptom. Actually, it can decrease the efficiency of the heart by lowering the amount of blood pumped throughout your body. With less oxygenated blood circulating the body, the body receives less oxygen and the person may ultimately experience dizziness, lightheadedness, chest pain, or fainting. More seriously, based on a recent study, a person with higher resting heart rates may have a higher risk of early death. The study followed nearly 2,800 middle-aged men for 16 years. Men whose resting heart rates were 80 or more beats per minute died earlier, on average, than men with a resting heart rate of 65 beats per minute. So people with tachycardia should try to lower heart rate, and these methods can help ——

  • Exercise more. When you take a brisk walk, swim or ride a bike, your heart beats faster during the activity and for a short time afterward. But exercising every day gradually slows your resting heart rate.

  • Reduce stress. Meditation, tai chi and other stress-busting techniques can lower your heart rate over time.

  • Carotid sinus massage: gentle pressure on the neck, where the carotid artery splits into two branches. Must be performed by a healthcare professional to minimize risk of stroke, heart or lung injury from blood clots.

  • Pressing gently on the eyeballs with eyes closed.

  • Valsalva maneuver: holding your nostrils closed while blowing air through your nose.

  • Dive reflex: the body's response to sudden immersion in water, especially cold water.

  • Sedation.

  • Cutting down on coffee.

  • Cutting down on alcohol.

  • Quitting tobacco use.

  • Getting more rest.

  • In patients with Wolfe-Parkinson-White Syndrome, medications or ablation may be needed to control PSVT.






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