Tachycardia - what is behind it?

Woman with tachycardia

Tachycardia is also known by the medical term tachycardia and describes too high a pulse, too fast a rhythm of the heart. Normal are 50 to 100 beats per minute. More than 100 heart beats per minute in dormant people are referred to as tachycardia and are popularly known as heart tachycardia. Read here what typical signs and classic causes of palpitations are. You will also learn how to treat tachycardia appropriately.

Tachycardia: recognize symptoms

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 used.

The following symptoms are typically associated with palpitations:

  • throbbing sensation in the chest (palpitations)
  • high pulse
  • Sweat and wet hands
  • dizziness
  • fast breath or shortness of breath
  • Tremble
  • nausea
  • inner unrest

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
  • Schilddrüsenüberfuktion
  • 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.

Sudden tachycardia 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.

Harmless causes are, for example, a fast heartbeat in excitement and movement. Hormone changes just before the premenstrual syndrome (PMS) period or during pregnancy can also cause tachycardia. Often in combination with headache and sweating.

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.

6 facts about heart racing (infographic)

6 facts about tachycardia - © istockphoto, Renikca

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 best 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.

On the other hand, hypothyroidism or Hashimoto's thyroiditis (a special form of hypothyroidism) tends to do the opposite: slowed down physical activity, tiredness, weakness, and slowed pulse.

Tachycardia in the night

Nocturnal tachycardia in calm lying is, however, to be evaluated differently than tachycardia the day after physical activity. At night, tachycardia, which occurs without external cues, can be disturbing and possibly also point to an illness.

But there are also many harmless causes at night, such as psychosomatic complaints or tachycardia after drinking alcohol the night before.

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.

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