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What causes Tachycardia? Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatments


Tachycardia is also known in the medical term as a palpitation (Fast Heart Rate), taht means when your Heart rhythms or the Heartbeats are too fast.The term refers to a whole group of different cardiac arrhythmias. Common to them is an inappropriately fast pulse of more than 100 beats per minute and an origin of arrhythmia above the ventricles. It affects mostly younger patients, women more often than men.

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Tachycardia: Description

Normally, the adult’s heart beats about 60 to 80 times a minute, In a tachycardia, it accelerates to more than 100 beats per minute – and permanently. It comes to increased palpitations, which can be felt up in the throat, which may be accompanied by other symptoms.

For adults:

  • A sustained heart rate over 120 is threatening.
  • In case of 150 heartbeats there is a pronounced tachycardia, which belongs in medical hands.

Many people experience a sudden, recurring tachycardia that usually passes by itself again. One speaks of the benign tachycardia or so-called heart hunt . It can be recognized by the following signs:

  • The seizures start suddenly and end just as unexpectedly.
  • The tachycardia occurs independently of certain situations.
  • The symptoms usually appear at rest or some time after physical exertion.
  • Also, dizziness , chest print or nausea can occur with.

Nevertheless, you should also have the benign tachycardia clear medical check to rule out more serious causes. In addition, the sudden tachycardia have a negative effect on the daily lives of those affected: The ability to work and drive is limited during a seizure. In addition, it can come to a swoon.

The tachycardia is differentiated according to the place of its origin into a:

  • Supraventricular tachycardia: The origin of the heart’s aorta lies outside the heart chambers
  • Ventricular tachycardia: The high heart rate occurs in the ventricle. It is a dangerous form of the heart, as it may cause ventricular fibrillation .

Heart racing can also occur chronically or acutely . If the heart is healthy, it can easily survive sudden tachycardia.

Tachycardia: common symptoms

Tachycardiac-heart-attackEpisodic heartbeat ( tachycardia ) occurs in cardiac hunt , in which a regular pulse is to be felt and ends just as fast as it has begun. The seizures can take minutes to hours. After the phases there may be a sudden urination and a urine flood.

In otherwise healthy patients usually no further symptoms occur. However, in patients with cardiac insufficiency  there may be a critical limitation of pump function with chest pain ( angina pectoris ) and dizziness, as well as syncope ( fainting ).

Since tachycardia is usually associated with a general physical activation, it is not only directly on the heart, but in the entire organism noticeable. Tachycardia is therefore usually associated with many different body sensations. Although these signs are often harmless, they can be frightening, especially if suddenly appear.

The following symptoms are typically associated with palpitations:

  • shortness of breath: If the respiratory distress causes a shortness of breath , a doctor should be consulted. The shortness of breath shows that the body is not supplied with enough oxygen . On the one hand, this is due to the fact that the heart no longer works economically due to the high heart rate and thus pumps too little blood volume per time through the body. Since the blood is responsible for the oxygenation of the tissue, there is a lack of oxygen in the body, causing the symptom of respiratory distress.
    Another aspect is that the tachycardia prevents blood flow through the lungs from functioning properly, which in addition leads to poorer oxygenation.
    An onset of respiratory distress in the tachycardia is thus an indicator that the function of the heart is already restricted by the rapid heartbeat and concerns the problem so the whole body .
  • Sweat and wet hands: With psychic tachycardia often sweats occur, which indicates a very strong mental tension and excitement. These can be, for example, symptoms of anxiety, severe agitation or panic attacks. But sweating can also occur in heart attacks of other causes. They are also a sign that the body is in an exceptional situation and is not in good harmony.
    The reason for the outbreaks of tachycardia is an increased activity of the sympathetic , which sets the body on alert.
    If sweats and tachycardia occur, this is usually very worrying for the affected patients as well as for the environment, since the increased sweating can also be perceived from the outside and is generally associated with a certain nervousness even in outsiders.
  • Tiredness and dizziness: A bacterial or virus-induced heart muscle inflammation leads to tachycardia, often coupled with a performance kink and fatigue. You may also feel a fast, strained heartbeat or heart stumbling . It is not uncommon for cardiac symptoms to be absent, but only for general fatigue or fatigue, with or without dizziness, which can complicate the diagnosis.
    Anemia also causes tiredness and palpitations. The red blood cells are responsible for the transport of oxygen, but in the case of anemia their number is significantly reduced. This leads to a lack of oxygen in the body, which this tries to compensate by an accelerated heart rate. At the same time the physical capacity decreases and the affected person is “out of breath”.
  • Nausea: A nausea accompanying the rapid heartbeat can be triggered by various causes. A prominent cause here is the cardiovascular system. If there is a heart attack, it can cause nausea in addition to pain in the chest and rapid heartbeat. Also to low blood pressure may palpitations and nausea trigger.An existing hypoglycaemia, usually occurring in diabetics, can also be felt by nausea and tachycardia . In addition, sweating, dizziness or shaking may occur. In case of acute circulatory weakness or impotence, nausea may occur in addition to palpitations and sweating.
  • Headache: If an accelerated heartbeat causes increased blood pressure, it can trigger a headache . If the blood pressure remains at a high level or even increases, it is called a hypertensive crisis. Blood pressure rises above a systolic value of 230mmHg, which can cause damage to most organs.Even flickering in front of the eyes or tinnitus can be an indication of excessive blood pressure. Such a crisis can be triggered by an adrenal tumor. It then comes to an increased release of stress hormones, which strongly activate the body.In the case of hypoglycaemia already mentioned above, headaches may also be the result, among other symptoms.

How does tachycardia develop?


Tachycardia can on the one hand be a healthy adaptation of body and heart to stress. On the other hand, it can also be a sign of serious illness. In general, the heart beats faster when the body is exposed to both physical and mental stress.

This is because the body needs more energy and more oxygen under stress: the body needs to be better supplied with blood. He achieves this through the heart with a faster heartbeat, which in turn feels like tachycardia.

For tachycardia the following causes can be considered:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Sports activity
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Thyroid
  • low blood pressure

In the following, some of these causes are discussed in more detail.

Causes of tachycardia

Tachycardia can have many causes and is harmless in most cases. Heart racing can also be a serious warning signal for a medical emergency.

Sports activity

Sport is actually the best medicine and has been proven to protect against heart attacks, calcifications or cardiovascular problems. But sports can also be deadly in rare cases. One hears from time to time of marathon runners who collapse fatally during the competition – often due to heart failure . In most cases, delayed or unrecognized heart muscle inflammation or infection is the reason.

But there is also the symptom of the heart tachy (med.Tachykardie). It is associated with a rapid heartbeat over 100-120 beats per minute and severe palpitations, mostly as a reaction of the body to anxiety, excitement or anticipation . Another trigger: Overtraining!

At Night tachycardia

There are numerous causes for a heartbeat occurring at night. On the one hand, heart disease can lead to nocturnal tachycardia. On the other hand, an overactive thyroid gland , the consumption of alcohol or an alcohol withdrawal in addicts with tachycardia may be accompanied at night.

The most common menopausal symptoms include tachycardia caused by hormone changes, which often occurs at night. Tachycardia is often associated with the hot flashes that occur in about 70% of women . As a rule, the hot flashes start from feeling unwell or having a slight headache .

Subsequently, a heat wave over the body prepares, it comes toRedness of the face and sweating. Often it comes at the same time to strong palpitations or tachycardia . If the outbreak of sweat subsides, the most affected people will feel cold. Such an attack usually lasts for a few minutes; when it is over, usually the tachycardia subsides.

Another cause of tachycardia occurring at night may be a panic attack . This awakens the person concerned, often trembling or breathing problems occur next to the heart rate . Night-time panic attacks often affect younger people. Often they point to worries and overwork.

should therefore not be evaluated alone, but also the environmental factors and the current physical activity must be considered. Depending on when the tachycardia occurs, it is often possible to deduce the cause.

Low blood pressure as a trigger of palpitations

Often a low blood pressure directly after eating or after getting up is the cause of tachycardia. In order to increase low blood pressure, the heart has to beat compensatorically faster.

Such a low blood pressure usually has harmless causes, but may also point to heart failure or, in extreme cases, even as a concomitant of a heart attack.

Heart stumbling and cardiac arrhythmias

Often, heart stumbling and other arrhythmias occur along with altered rate of heartbeat. This must be distinguished from simple palpitations and is easy to confuse, as both cardiac arrhythmia and palpitations can cause similar symptoms and are perceived by the person concerned mainly as palpitations.

It is better to find out if a cardiac arrhythmia actually occurs with the help of an ECG (electrocardiogram) and a physical examination by a doctor.

Thyroid and tachycardia

The thyroid has a big impact on our body activity and metabolism . When the thyroid gland is overactive, it also leads to increased heart activity, increased blood pressure, and high heart rates. In extreme cases, this can also feel like palpitations.

An underactive thyroid or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (a special type of hypothyroidism) generate quite the opposite: a downed physical activity, fatigue, weakness and slowed pulse.

What to do against tachycardia?

As soon as the symptoms described, such as tremors, dyspnea, dizziness and nausea are perceived, the question quickly arises as to what to do against palpitations.

Frequently, simple waiting or targeted relaxation exercises help to calm the body and thus also relieve the heart. If the heartbeat occurs unexpectedly or in combination with other physical symptoms that you are worried about, the treating physician should be consulted.

Especially tachycardia, which occurs in combination with sudden loss of consciousness, should be clarified in more detail medically to exclude serious diseases of the cardiovascular system.

You can do that yourself:

You suffer again and again under sudden onset of heart attack, should you urge to see a doctor. Often these are harmless causes, yet serious organic causes must be excluded.

Benign heartbeat you can stop yourself with some techniques:

  • Breathe deeply in and out: Palpitations often result from stress or anxiety. In such situations, it can help to pause, sit down and consciously inhale and exhale. Often, the tachycardia is already tamed.
  • Massage your neck: Use your index and middle fingers to gently massage the point where you feel the pulse. There sits the carotid sinus nerve, which measures the pressure in the carotid arteries and controls the blood pressure. This may slow the heartbeat. Caution: Most of the time the blood pressure drops a bit, so you should use this technique only when lying or sitting!
  • Do the Valsalva maneuver: hold your nose and try to exhale gently with your mouth closed . The pressure in the chest increases and slows down the heartbeat.
  • First drink, then belch: The same effect as the Valsalva maneuver has the rapid drinking of a cold, best carbonated drink and the subsequent regurgitation . Even so, the tachycardia can be in its place.
  • Refrain from coffee and cigarettes: If you suffer from palpitations more often, you should abstain from substances that increase heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Do not let it stress: the main cause of tachycardia is and remains the stress. Let it take a little slower or add relaxation techniques in your everyday life. These include, for example, progressive muscle relaxation , autogenic training or yoga.
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