What is tachycardia, and when a high heart rate is dangerous – Insider – INSIDER

Posted: January 30, 2020 at 9:45 pm

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Tachycardia is a type of arrhythmia when your heart rate is faster than normal. A healthy resting heart rate for most adults is between 60 and 90 beats per minute (bpm), but adults with tachycardia usually have a resting heart rate greater than 100 bpm.

Here's what you need to know about what causes the different types of tachycardia and when the condition is considered dangerous.

There are multiple types of tachycardia, which are categorized by where they originate in the heart. Some are not considered a danger to your health while others should be monitored closely. These include:

Many types of tachycardia can lead to emergency medical events, like sudden cardiac arrest, a heart attack, heart failure, and stroke. But according to Solomon Sager, MD, a cardiologist and electrophysiologist at the Chicago Cardiology Institute, you might not even know you have it.

While those with tachycardia won't always notice, there are a few common symptoms. The first indicator is a heartbeat that feels too fast, which you can check by taking your pulse. Other symptoms may include heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, or lightheadedness.

You're more likely to develop some form of tachycardia as you age. That's because structural changes in the heart may cause these abnormal heart rhythms over time, Sager says.

Patients who have a family history of tachycardia or congenital conditions at birth are at a higher risk. Certain health conditions are also associated with an increased risk, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, sleep apnea, and anxiety disorders.

With the help of wearable health trackers like the Apple Watch, more people are discovering they have tachycardia, even when they don't experience symptoms. Sager says you should take this kind of data seriously and follow up with your physician if anything is out of the ordinary.

Physicians treat tachycardia in a variety of ways, often involving critical lifestyle changes. Sager says people diagnosed with AFib are encouraged to exercise, eat a healthy diet, and treat underlying health issues, such as sleep apnea or diabetes. They should also cut down on alcohol and quit tobacco.

People with ventricular tachycardia more often require medication, surgery, or ablation. Doctors may prescribe antiarrhythmic medications to prevent arrhythmias from coming on, beta blockers to slow heart rate, and blood thinners to reduce the risk of blood clots.

Patients who still have tachycardia despite medication may undergo catheter ablations. During this two- to four-hour procedure, a cardiologist guides a flexible wire into the heart that burns affected heart tissue using radiofrequency energy. This stops abnormal electrical signals with a 90% success rate in some types of tachycardia.

If you experience a prolonged or recurring high resting heart rate, along with other symptoms of tachycardia, you should go to the emergency room or call 911.

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What is tachycardia, and when a high heart rate is dangerous - Insider - INSIDER

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January 30th, 2020 at 9:45 pm

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