May also be called: Rapid Heart Rate; Rapid Heartbeat
Tachycardia (tak-ih-KAR-dee-uh) is an abnormally rapid heartbeat.
More to Know
The heart has its own
electrical system that controls the heart rate and contraction of the heart, which
pumps blood throughout the body. Normal heart rates vary based on a person's age.
A rapid heart rate can be caused by many different factors. Sometimes tachycardia
is the body's response to a trigger like fever,
anxiety, exercise, or pain, just to name a few. It also can be due to an abnormal
rhythm in the heart (called a dysrhythmia), such as supraventricular tachycardia (SVT).
Congenital heart abnormalities, high blood pressure, medications, dehydration,
caffeine, smoking, and recreational drug use also can cause tachycardia. Tachycardias
can lead to dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, fainting, and heart palpitations
(a sensation of feeling the heart beat fast or irregularly). Some tachycardias are
life threatening and can lead to blood clots, causing a stroke, heart failure, and
Keep in Mind
Most tachycardias resolve without causing any problems. However, some require immediate
medical attention and can be life threatening if they're not treated. Be sure to talk
to your doctor if you are concerned about tachycardia or its related symptoms.
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