Does your heart beat faster than normal? You may have tachycardia. It is a health disorder that needs medical assistance. Your heart may beat faster after strenuous physical activity or while you feel nervous. But, the faster heartbeat even while resting indicates something is wrong with you. Do you wish to know more about tachycardia? Then, read about heart rhythm disorder to know more information.
What Is Tachycardia?
The arrhythmia is a common problem that leads to increased heartbeats. So, you can experience heartbeat normal than the usual. With the issue, your heart beats in lower/upper chambers or both even at rest. Normally, the heartbeats rise due to a physiological response like trauma, stress or any illness. But, with tachycardia, the heart beats abnormally.
Your heart rates are usually controlled by the electrical signals sent across your heart tissues. Some abnormality in the heart can lead to the production of rapid electrical signals. So, it can quicken your heart rate. The normal heart rate ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. With the issue, the heartbeats more per minute even at rest.
Types Of Tachycardia
You need to understand the different types of tachycardia to get more information. You can classify the abnormal tachycardia based on the origin as well as the cause. The abnormally fast heartbeat types are:
The upper chambers of the heart known as atria experiences abnormal or irregular electrical impulses. So, it can cause uncoordinated, rapid, and weak contractions of the atria. It is the most common type of tachycardia. The structural abnormality of the heart due to the high blood pressure or heart disease results in the issue. Though the atrial fibrillation episodes seem temporary, you need medical attention. So, the other factors causing the issue are:
- Heavy alcohol use
- Heart valve disorder
Therefore, only medical assistance can cure the problem. The episodes need prompt medical attention to clear the issue.
The atrial flutter results in the atrial weak contractions. Your heart beats fast, but at the normal rate. The main reason for the issue is the irregular circuitry of the atria. Atrial flutter episodes can resolve themselves or require treatment. But, at times the problem may result in atrial fibrillation.
Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)
The irregular heartbeats originating in the ventricles is known as the supraventricular tachycardia or SVT. The main reason for the fast heartbeat is the abnormal circuitry of the heart structure. It is the birth defect occurring during the birth itself. So, the issue can create a loop of overlapping electrical signals.
The lower chambers in your heart are known as ventricles. The abnormal electrical signals in the ventricles can cause an increase in heart rates. It leads to the restriction in the inability to pump the blood effectively to the other parts of the body. The brief episodes of ventricular tachycardia last only for a couple of seconds. But, the episodes lasting for more time can result in a life-threatening emergency.
It is the problem that occurs during or after getting a heart attack. You may experience the issue with an underlying heart condition. People experiencing trauma or struck by lightning can also experience the issue. Ventricular fibrillation causes the abnormal electrical impulses in the ventricles. So, the quivering of the ventricles results in ineffective blood pumping. It is a fatal condition that needs treatment immediately. If the heart is not restored to the normal rhythm, then it can prove fatal. Usually, the doctors restore the normal rhythm with the defibrillation (electric shock to the heart).
Symptoms Of Tachycardia
The main symptom of the complication is the rapid heartbeat. The faster heartbeat results in the ineffective pumping of the blood to the rest of the body. So, the organs in your body are deprived of oxygen. The deprivation of oxygen to the cell and tissue can result in other symptoms like:
- Rapid pulse rate
- Shortness of breath
- Chest Pain
- Heart Palpitations
All the symptoms can cause severe discomfort to people suffering from the issue. But, remember that not everyone experiences the symptoms. Sometimes, the symptoms get detected during a routine physical examination or during the heart monitoring test. In many cases, patients detect the problem when they are subjected to the electrocardiogram.
Causes Of Tachycardia
The electrical impulses control the heart’s pumping action rate. Certain issues can lead to the abnormal electrical impulses resulting in tachycardia. Many factors contribute to the issue namely:
- Heart disease-causing tissue damage
- Congenital heart conditions
- Abnormal electrical pathways in the heart
- Strenuous Exercise or physical activity
- Excess Smoking
- Sudden Stress
- High/Low blood pressure
- Consuming Caffeinated Beverages
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Medication side effects
- Abuse of recreational drugs (use of cocaine)
- Imbalance of electrolytes necessary to conduct electrical impulses like mineral-related substances
- Thyroid issues like overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
Complications Of Tachycardia
The existence of the other heart conditions along with the severity of each type of tachycardia determines the complication. The rate and duration of the heartbeat is also the significant factor responsible for the severity of the issue. So, ignoring the issue can result in complications like:
- Formation of blood clots resulting in heart attack or stroke
- The inability of your heart to pump blood to other parts of the body
- Getting unconscious or frequent fainting spells
- Death due to ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia.
Diagnosis Of Tachycardia
You need to understand that several issues can lead to tachycardia. Therefore, you need to consult your doctor to find the underlying condition causing the issue. The accurate diagnosis is essential to get appropriate care. Therefore, getting medical assistance is necessary when you or our loved ones experience tachycardia symptoms. The doctor may use the following diagnostic techniques to determine the type and cause of the issue:
To determine the actual condition and the specific type, your doctor performs a thorough physical examination. It helps the doctor evaluate and assess your symptoms in detail. Therefore, your doctor collects information about your medical history and health habits.
An ECG/EKG is the most common tool used to diagnose tachycardia. It is the most painless test suggested by your doctor. So, the test records the heart’s electrical activity that your doctor can use for detection of the issue. Small sensors/ electrodes attached to your chest and arms helps in the detection process. The timing and the strength of the electrical signals are recorded by the ECG as it travels to the heart. The patterns of the signals aids in determining the type of tachycardia. Therefore, the test sheds light on the abnormality contributing to fast heart rate.
Cardiac Event Monitor
You can also use portable devices at home with the doctor’s permission. The portable ECG devices provide additional information about the heart rate. The common devices used for the purpose are:
You can wear it on your belt, carry it in your pocket or wear with a shoulder strap. It records the heart rate for 24 hours straight. So, your doctor can take a look at the detailed record of your heart rhythms. As per the doctor’s suggestion, you can keep a diary. It must contain the recording of the heart rate for 24 hours. Therefore, it helps detect problem for the symptoms you experience and the corresponding time.
It is a portable ECG device that monitors heart activity for a period of time. It can record the heart rate for a few weeks to a couple of months. Though you wear it all day, it records only at a certain time. So, the heart rate is recorded for just a few minutes. When you experience symptoms, you push a button. The monitors sense the abnormal heart rate automatically. Therefore, the recordings shed light on the issue causing the abnormal heart rate.
The test can confirm the diagnosis of heart problems as well as pinpoint the exact location of your heart problem. The test includes inserting a thin tube tipped with electrodes. So, the flexible catheters are inserted into your neck, groin or arm. The tubes then travel to the various spots in your heart. Once the electrodes get in place it maps the heartbeat. Therefore, it precisely identifies the issues of heart circuit abnormalities.
Cardiac Imaging Techniques
If your doctor suspects structural abnormalities in your heart, then the imaging techniques can give a clear picture. So, it helps to detect the issues that affect blood flow leading to tachycardia. The different imaging techniques available to diagnose tachycardia are:
Echo or echocardiogram is an imaging method that uses sound waves to develop a moving picture of the heart structure. So, your doctor can detect areas of poor blood flow, abnormal structures like valves or ineffective muscles in your heart precisely.
Magnetic resonance imaging is the advanced imaging technique providing both still and moving images of the blood flow through the heart. Therefore, it aids in detecting the abnormalities of our heart.
Computerized tomography makes use of different x-ray images of your heart to develop a complete cross-sectional view of your heart.
It gives a comprehensive view of the blood flow through your heart including the blood vessels. Your doctor may prefer the technique to detect the blocks or abnormal function of the heart. Using special dye as well the x-rays it offers a complete picture of the inside workings of your coronary arteries.
It is the basic test that shows your doctor the still images of your heart as well as lungs. It mainly detects the heart enlargement.
It detects the heart’s function when you work had physical. So, the doctor recommends the test to detect issues. The test involves placing electrodes on your chest and making you exercise. Therefore, it helps to monitor the heat function when you work on a treadmill. Your doctor can suggest other tests in conjunction with the stress test to detect severe heart complications.
Till Table Test
It is to determine the association of tachycardia with the fainting spells you experience. Under your doctor’s monitoring, you will take medication responsible for the low blood pressure. Then, you lie on a table with a flat surface. It is tilted to mimic the standing position. So, the test can help determine how your nervous system and heart responds to the changes in the position.
Other tests can also shed light into the underlying cause triggering the tachycardia episode. So, it aids in getting a comprehensive view of your heart’s condition.
Treatment Methods Of Tachycardia
The treatment options of tachycardia mainly focus on addressing the condition. It also reduces the rapid heartbeat. So, the treatment techniques aim to ease the symptoms and prevent future episodes. You need medical treatment to prevent further complications.
The treatment mostly focusses on bringing down our heartbeat rate. Usually, the rapid heartbeat can correct itself with simple physical movements. But, in some cases, you need the treatment to correct the heartbeat rate. The different methods your doctor may use to bring your heartbeat to normal are:
It is the action performed by your doctor to make your heartbeat normal during the episode of tachycardia. The action aimed to affect the vagus nerve, which influences your heartbeat. So, the maneuvers including putting an ice pack on your face, coughing or bearing down to mimic the bowel movement can bring back the heartbeat to normal.
The medication is the next option if the vagal maneuvers do not work. The anti-arrhythmic medication can stop the rapid heartbeat and restore normalcy. You need to go to the hospital to get the injection or the pill version.
It is the procedure that is suggested by your doctor during emergency care. Doctors mostly opt for the treatment option during the failure of other medications. In the treatment, electric shock is delivered to your chest with paddles. The paddles are known as AED (automated external defibrillator) or patches can affect the electric pulses of your heart. Therefore, it is effective in restoring the normal rhythm.
The most important aspect to avoid diseases is to prevent it with simple yet effective steps. A healthy heart ensures you reduce the risk of developing the issue. People suffering from the issue can take the steps to keep it under control. Following some steps can prevent the issue and lower the tachycardia risk.
Following a healthy diet and including exercise in your daily routine is good for your overall health. A good low-fat diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can reduce the risk of any diseases.
Maintain Healthy Weight
Overweight people are more prone to developing heart-related issues. Therefore, maintain a healthy weight (check BMI) to reduce the risk of getting diseases.
Control Diabetes And Blood Pressure
A healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of getting several diseases. So, keeping the blood sugar levels, pressure, and cholesterol levels under control can improve the quality of life. It also reduces the risks of getting tachycardia and other heart problems.
Smoking is not good for your lungs. It can also cause heart problems. So, you need to stop smoking to avoid a plethora of diseases. If you have an addiction, then talk to your doctor to find a program that will break the habit.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Moderate consumption of alcohol will not affect your health. So, limit drinking alcoholic beverages to 1-2 glasses per day to avoid damage to your body. Older people need to limit consumption to minimize risk. For some health conditions, alcohol consumption is dangerous. Therefore, talk to your doctor about it to avoid problems.
Say No To Drugs
Recreational drugs or stimulants like cocaine or LSD is not good for your physical or mental health. It can cause dependency issues. So, talk to your doctor if you have drug problems. The drug use can only worsen heart health.
Some of the over-the-counter medication can increase the heartbeat rate. Therefore, talk to your doctor before taking the medication. It will help you avoid the medicines that adversely affect your health.
Drinking caffeinated beverages can lead to serious health issues. Therefore, limit drinking the beverages for a healthy life.
Stress can cause negative effects of heart health. Therefore, learn about stress coping techniques. It will help you handle stress in normal life with ease.
Regular physical exams can help you detect any issues in your body. So, schedule regular checkups for finding any issues and report it to your doctor.
People suffering from the tachycardia need to treat and keep monitoring the issue to avoid complication. You need to follow all the advice suggested by your doctor to ensure you do not develop another arrhythmia. Take the medication properly. Monitoring of the changes helps you detect the new symptoms. In such cases, talk to your doctor immediately to get the necessary treatment.
Tachycardia may seem like a harmless issue as you retain your heartbeat after some time. But, the frequent occurrence suggests something severe. Therefore, seek medical help immediately to ensure the symptoms does not worsen. It will help you avoid complications and other serious problems.View Article Sources