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Tachycardia

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Tachycardia (fast heart rate) is when your heart rate is 100 beats per minute or more at rest. It is normal for the heart rate to increase with activity or exercise and then decrease when you stop. A fast heart rate at rest may be caused by any of the following:
  • Anxiety, stress, or pain
  • Fever
  • Physical fatigue or strenuous exercise
  • Large amounts of caffeine such as coffee, tea, and energy drinks
  • Heavy alcohol use or cigarette smoking
  • Some medicines, inhalers, or street drugs
  • Increased thyroid hormone level

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Call 911 or have someone else call for any of the following:

  • You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:
    • Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest that lasts longer than a few minutes. Chest pain may come and go.
    • Pain in your jaw, neck, one or both arms, upper and lower back, or stomach.
    • Shortness of breath, or panting
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Lightheadedness
  • You cannot be woken.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your pulse is faster than your healthcare provider said it should be.
  • You have frequent periods of a fast heart rate.
  • You feel weak or dizzy.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Help prevent a fast heart rate:

  • Decrease the amount of caffeine you drink. Caffeine can increase your heart rate.
  • Limit or do not drink alcohol. Alcohol can increase your heart rate. Ask your healthcare provider if it is safe for you to drink alcohol. Also ask how much is safe for you to drink.
  • Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes can cause damage to your heart. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
  • Do not use illegal drugs. Drugs such as meth and cocaine can increase your heart rate. Talk to your healthcare provider if you use illegal drugs and want to quit.
  • Get more rest. Fatigue can cause your heart rate to increase. Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you.
  • Learn ways to cope with stress. Stress, fear, and anxiety can cause a fast heart rate. Your healthcare provider may recommend relaxation techniques and deep breathing exercises. Your healthcare provider may recommend you talk to someone about your stress or anxiety, such as a counselor or a trusted friend.

Check your pulse as directed:

Your healthcare provider will show you how to check your pulse, and how often to check it. Write down how fast your pulse is and if it feels regular or like it is skipping beats. Also write down the activity you were doing if your heart rate is above 100. Bring the information with you to your follow-up appointment.


Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need more tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them at your visit.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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