Tachycardia refers to a high resting heart rate. In adults, the heart usually beats between 60 and 100 times per minute. Depending on its underlying cause and how hard the heart has to work, it can be dangerous. Doctors usually consider a heart rate of over 100 beats per minute to be too fast, though this varies among individuals. Factors such as age and fitness levels can affect it.
Sometimes, it’s normal for you to have a fast heartbeat. For example, its normal for your heart rate to rise during exercise or as a response to stress, trauma or illness. But in tachycardia, the heart beats faster than normal due to conditions unrelated to normal physiological stress.
When tachycardia is present, either the upper or lower chambers of the heart beat significantly faster. When the heart beats too rapidly, it pumps less efficiently. Blood flow to the rest of the body, including the heart, reduces. Also, when the heart beats faster, the heart musclers need more oxygen. In time, oxygen-starved cells can die, leading to heart attack.
There’re 3 types of tachycardia-
This happens when the electrical signals in the organ’s upper chambers misfire and cause the heartrate to speed up. It beats so fast that it can’t fill with blood before it contracts. That reduces blood flow to the rest of your body.
This is a rapid heartrate that starts in your heart’s lower chambers. It happens when the electrical signals in these chambers fire the wrong way. Again, the heart beats so fast that it can’t fill with blood or pump it through the rest of your body.
• Sinus tachycardia
This happens when your heart’s natural pacemaker sends out electrical signals faster than normal. Your ticker beats fast, but it beats the way it should.
• Shortness of breath
• Rapid pulse rate
• Heart palpitations-sensation of flopping in the chest
• Chest pain
• Fainting (syncope)
Some people with tachycardia have no symptoms and the condition is only discovered during a physical examination or with a heart- monitoring test called Electrocardiogram.
Tachycardia is caused by something that disrupts the normal electrical impulses that control the rate of your heart’s pumping action. The things that cause or contribute to a fast heart rate includes –
• High or low blood pressure
• Imbalance of electrolytes
• Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
• Medication side effects
• Drinking too much alcohol
• Drinking too many caffeinated beverages
• Sudden stress, such as fright
• Use of stimulant days, such as cocaine or methamphetamine
• Blood clots
• Heart failure
• Sudden death
Diagnostic Tests –
• Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
• Exercise stress test
• Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
• CT scan
• Coronary angiogram
Treatment aims to address the cause, but a doctor may also try to –
• Slow the heart rate
• Prevent further episodes
• Reduce the risk of complications
Ways to slow a fast heartbeat
There are several ways to slow a rapid heartbeat during an episode which are as follows –
The vagus nerve helps regulate the heartbeat.
Some techniques or maneuvers, can affect this nerve and help slow the heartbeat. Such techniques include –
• Stimulating the gag reflex
• Applying abdominal pressure
• Applying cold water to the person’s face
• Applying gentle pressure to the area of the neck where the carotid artery is situated
• Holding the nostrils closed while the person blows out through the nose These may be helpful in an emergency.
If vagal maneuvers don’t stop the fast heartbeat, you may need an injection of an anti-arrhythmic drug (in form of tablet or injection)to restore a normal heartrate.
In this procedure, a shock is delivered to your heart through paddles, an automated external defibrillator(AED) or pathces on your chest. The current affects the electrical impulses in your heart and restores a normal heartbeat.
Some measures can help prevent and manage tachycardia.
Some ways to prevent tachycardia and heart issues at home includes –
* Avoiding the use of tobacco and recreational drugs
* Limiting the consumption of alcohol and caffeine
* Reduce stress
* Getting enough sleep
* Following a healthful diet and getting regular exercise
* Antiarrhythmic drugs
* Calcium channel blockers, such as dilitazem or verapamil
* Beta blockers, such as propranolol or metoprolol
* Blood thinners, such as warfarin or apixaban
▪︎Radiofrequency catheter ablation
An electrophysiologist can insert catheters into the heart through the blood vessels.
Electrodes at the ends of the catheter can ablate, or damage, small sections of the heart that are responsible for the abnormal heartbeat.
Sometimes, a doctor will recommend surgery to make repairs or changes that can help reduce the risk of tachycardia.
Ayurvedic Perspective –
In Ayurveda, abnormal heart rhythm falls under the category of Hridroga. Abnormal heart rhythm is due to the imbalance of all three energies (Vata, pitta and kapha)
• Imbalanced vata dosha causes the irregular heartbeat.
• Aggravated pitta dosha is responsible for increased heartbeat.
• Choti Elaichi
• Akik Pisti
• Jaharmohra Pisti
• Arjuna Kwath
• Moti Pisti
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