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Tachycardia (fast heart rate)
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
- 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
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
- You cannot be woken.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have frequent periods of a fast heart rate.
- You feel weak or dizzy.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Other symptoms that may occur with a fast heartbeat:
You may have no other symptoms with your fast heart rate, or you may have any of the following:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Chest pain
- Fluttering or pounding heart
- Shortness of breath
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.
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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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