What Causes It?
Any number of things.
Strenuous exercise, a fever, fear, stress, anxiety, certain medications, and street drugs can lead to sinus tachycardia. It can also be triggered by anemia, an overactive thyroid, or damage from a heart attack or heart failure.
Supraventricular tachycardia is most likely to affect people who smoke, drink too much alcohol, or have a lot of caffeine. In some cases it’s linked to heart attacks. It’s more common in women and children.
The ventricular type is associated with abnormal electrical pathways which are present at birth (long QT), structural problems of the heart such as a cardiomyopathy or coronary disease, medications, or electrolyte imbalance. Sometimes, the reason is unclear.
No matter which type of tachycardia you have, you may feel:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
In extreme cases, you could become unconscious or go into cardiac arrest.
But sometimes, a super-fast heart rate causes no symptoms at all.
These may include:
Your doctor will decide what’s best after they get your test results.
If you have sinus tachycardia, they’ll help you pinpoint the cause and suggest things to lower your heart rate. These might include lifestyle changes like easing stress or taking medicine to lower a fever.
Treatments for ventricular tachycardia may include medication to reset the heart’s electrical signals or ablation, a procedure that destroys the abnormal heart tissue that is leading to the condition. Your doctor might also use a defibrillator to disrupt rapid heart rhythms.
A rapid heart rate doesn’t always need treatment. But sometimes it can be life- threatening. So play it safe -- let your doctor know right away if you have any type of irregular heartbeat.