Most arrhythmia including Tachycardia are not serious
However, any abnormality associated with the heart can quickly develop into a serious, or even life threatening emergency, leading to heart attack or death. It essential to seek qualified medical attention if you start to suffer from an excessively high heart rate, so that a proper medical diagnosis can be made, and you can be given the correct treatment.
What Is Tachycardia?
Tachycardia is a type of heart arrhythmia where the heart beats excessively fast. Most people experience the odd additional or missed heartbeat, usually without noticing it, as a result of excitement, anxiety or stress. However, persistent abnormal beating of the heart is a medical condition known as an ‘arrhythmia’. The heart may develop a condition where it beats too quickly, too slowly, or flutters irregularly with missing or additional beats. The condition may be temporary, or it may happen regularly. The average adult resting heartbeat lies within a range of between 60 and 100 per beats minute. Tachycardia is the name given to the condition where your heart beats at more than 100 times per minute.
What causes Tachycardia ?
The heart is a mechanical pump that operates by the expansion and contraction of it’s component muscles. The operation is controlled by electrical impulses that are regulated by an internal pacemaker known as the sinus node, and it is the disruption of these electrical signals that can cause irregular beating, or arrhythmia.
Each heartbeat starts in the upper right chamber of the heart, known the right atrium. An electrical pulse causes the contraction of the muscle that in turn causes the lower chambers (ventricles) to fill with blood. The electrical pulse then crosses over to the ventricles through a conduit known as the AV node, causing them in turn to contract and squeeze the blood out into the rest of the body.
This basic repetitive cycle can become interrupted due to an internal medical problem, or an externally induced cause such as stress, fatigue, excess intake of stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine, alcohol or medications, such as decongestants and alcohol. This interruption can cause the heart to beat too fast, and trigger a Tachycardia.
What are the Symptoms of Tachycardia ?
The result of the heart beating too fast during a Tachycardia is that it may become inefficient in it’s task of controlling the circulation of blood around the body. This inevitably leads to a deprivation of oxygen rich blood in other parts of the body, and apart from the physical sensation of a racing pulse, the following additional symptoms may be experienced (or there may be no noticeable symptoms at all) :-
- Chest pain or unusual feeling in the chest
- Heart palpitations
- loss of consciousness
- feeling of anxiety
- Dizziness and lightheadedness