High Pulse Rate Causes, Reasons at Rest, Symptoms, Treatment

High pulse rate is also known as tachycardia. It refers to the abnormally fast resting heart rate – normally at about 100 beats per given minute. A faster pulse rate can happen when at rest, and it can mean low blood pressure, illnesses or even the effects of running.

The threshold of any normal heart rate (also known as pulse) is based on the person’s age. Tachycardia might be very dangerous; depending on how hard the heart is to work.

In general, therefore, the adult resting heart beats between 60 and 100 times per minute (doctors place the healthy limit at 90, so some of them are able to diagnose tachycardia at a lower than 100 beats per minute). When a person is having tachycardia, then the upper or even the lower chambers of the heart beat much faster – sometimes this occurs to both the chambers.High pulse rate

High pulse rate causes and reasons

Tachycardia is brought about by something that usually disrupts the normal electrical impulses that usually control the rate of the heart’s pumping action. Most of the things can lead to or even contribute to the problems with the heart’s electrical system. These particular factors are:

  • Damage to the heart tissues direct from heart disease
  • Abnormal electrical pathways that are in the heart available at birth.
  • Disease or even the congenital abnormality of heart
  • Anemia
  • Sudden stress, like fright
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Medication side effects
  • Abuse of recreational drugs, such as cocaine
  • Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)

In some other cases, the exact reason behind tachycardia can’t be determined.

Electrical circuitry of the heart

The heart is normally made up of only four chambers — the two upper chambers and the two lower chambers (also known as the ventricles). The rhythm of the heart is controlled by a natural pacemaker (the sinus node) which is located in the right atrium. The pace maker produces electrical impulses that start each heartbeat.

From the pace maker, the electrical impulses normally travel across the atria, leading to the atria muscles to contract and then pump blood into ventricles.

The electrical impulses arrive at a cluster of cells known as the atrioventricular node — normally the only pathway that is used for signals to be able to travel from the atria directly to the ventricles.

The node usually slows down the electrical signal just before sending it again to the ventricles. This slight delay is used to allow the ventricles to fill up with enough blood. When the electrical impulses reach the ventricles muscles, they then contract, making them to pump blood either to the lungs or even to the other parts of the body.

Types of tachycardia

Tachycardia happens when a problem that is in electrical signals makes a heartbeat which is faster than normal. Common types of tachycardia are the following:

1. Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is a very rapid heart rate brought about by the chaotic electrical impulses that are in the atria. These particular signals lead to rapid, weak contractions of the atria.

The chaotic electrical signals then bombard the node, normally leading to an irregular, rapid rhythm of ventricles. Atrial fibrillation might be very temporary, but some of the episodes won’t be able to end unless they are treated.

Most people who are experiencing atrial fibrillation have certain structural abnormalities of the heart that are related to the conditions lie the heart disease or even the high blood pressure. Other factors that might contribute to the atrial fibrillation are;

  • Heart valve disorder
  • Heavy alcohol use

2. Atrial flutter

In the atrial flutter, the atria beat very fast but at a very much regular rate. Atrial flutter is brought about by irregular circuitry that is within the atria.

The fast rate leads to the weak contractions of atria. The rapid signals that are entering the AV node lead to a rapid and might sometimes lead to very much irregular ventricular rate. Episodes of the atrial flutter can get better on their own, or even the condition is able to persist unless it is treated.

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People who have atrial flutter normally have atrial fibrillation at some other times.

3. Supraventricular tachycardia

This condition, which originates somewhere above the ventricles, is brought above by the abnormal circuitry that is in the heart, normally present at birth, that sometimes creates a loop of overlapping signals.

In a form of SVT, an abnormality that is in the node can “split” the electrical signal into two, thus sending a signal to the ventricles and another signal back to the atria.

Another abnormality is usually the presence of an extra electrical pathway that is emanating from the atria to ventricles which bypasses the AV node. This can lead to a signal going down a pathway and up the other. Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is another disorder that is featuring an extra pathway.

4.  Ventricular tachycardia

This condition is a rapid heart rate which emanates from abnormal electrical signals that are in the ventricles. The heart rate doesn’t allow all the ventricles to fill and also contract efficiently as required so as to pump enough amount of blood to the body. Ventricular tachycardia is normally a life-threatening emergency.

5. Ventricular fibrillation

This condition happens when there is a rapid, chaotic electrical impulses make the ventricles to quiver much ineffectively instead of them pumping necessary blood to the body. This very much serious problem is much fatal if the heart isn’t restored to its normal rhythm within a period of a few minutes.

Many individuals who go through this condition have an underlying heart disease or have a very serious trauma, like being struck by lightning.


1. High heart rate after surgery

All the surgeries have the potential for some given risks, even if they’re the routine procedures. One of the risks is normally the alteration of the blood pressure. People can have the high blood pressure after surgery for several reasons.

Whether or not you are developing the complication depends much on the type of surgery that you’re having, the type of anesthesia as well as the medications that are administered, and whether or not you have had issues with the blood pressure before.

Pain Level

Being sick or even in pain can lead to the blood pressure to be much higher than being normal. This is normally temporary and the blood pressure gets back after the pain has been treated.


Anesthetics, the drugs that are used to put a person to sleep during the surgical procedures, might have an effect on the blood pressure. Changes are able to occur while you’re sleeping and then when you’re coming off from the drugs.

At the early stages of sleeping, anesthesia can lead to a spike in blood pressure from around 20 to about 30 mmHg, and sometimes higher for people who have poorly controlled high blood pressure. Recovery from the anesthesia are able to hit people who have very high blood pressure harder also.

Oxygen Levels

One possible side effect that can occur due to surgery and being under the anesthesia is that the parts of your body might not receive as much oxygen as is required. This is brought about by less oxygen being in the blood, a condition known as the hypoxemia. The blood pressure is able to increase eventually.

2. Running or during exercise

When you perform any aerobic activity, staying in the target heart rate range may assist ensure that you are working very hard enough so as to see results, but not working very hard that you are at a very high risk for injury or even an illness.

The optimal target heart rate much depends on the age and how fit a person is. A heart rate of about 170 while running can be very much high, depending on several factors.

Finding Your Heart Rate

To find out a heart rate, first find the pulse. You are able to locate it on the inside part of the wrist or on either side of the throat.

If you are not able to find it, try placing the hand across the middle of chest, slightly toward the left side. Using a stopwatch, measure a full minute and then count the number of beats. You may also count the number of beats in only 10 seconds and then multiply by six.

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Figuring Out Your Target Heart Rate

You may figure out a possible estimate of the target heart rate for the exercise by understanding the theoretical maximum heart rate. The maximum heart rate is the number of beats per minute your heart can handle when working at its maximum.

There are several different methods that can be used to calculate your theoretical maximum heart rate. One way is to take your age and subtract it from 220. This particular number provides an average maximum heart rate for people in that age group, this is according to the cardiologists. Keep in mind also that the calculation has a very wide margin of error.

3. Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the woman’s heart should be able to work harder since the fetus is growing, the heart should be able to pump enough blood to the uterus. By the end period of pregnancy, the uterus is supposed to receive about one fifth of the woman’s blood supply.

During the pregnancy period, the amount of blood that is pumped by the heart (cardiac output) normally increases by about 50%. As cardiac output then increases, the heart rate that is at rest speeds up from a normal pregnancy rate of about 75 beats per minute about 90 beats per single minute. During the exercise, the cardiac output and also the heart rate is able to increase more when a woman is pregnant.

At about 35 weeks of pregnancy, cardiac output will then decrease slightly. Then during the labor, it increases by about 30%. After delivery, then the cardiac output decreases much more rapidly at first, then slowly. It then returns to the prepregnancy level of about 5 weeks after delivery.High pulse rate

Certain heart murmurs as well as the irregularities that are in heart rhythm can appear since the heart is working much harder. Sometimes a very pregnant woman might feel the irregularities. Such given changes are very much normal during pregnancy period. But, other abnormal heart sounds as well as rhythms (for instance, diastolic, irregular heart rate), which happen more often in the pregnant women, may need urgent treatment.

Blood pressure normally decreases during the 2nd trimester but is able to return to a very normal prepregnancy level especially in the 3rd trimester.

What causes high pulse rate at rest

The resting heart rate, is the number of times that the heart beats in a minute. When you’re seated or even lying down and much relaxed, then a normal heart rate is normally between 70 and 100 beats a minute, according to the cardiologists.

Several studies have indicated that higher resting heart rate is related to increased risk of the cardiovascular events and also the death in men and women.

But, whether higher heart rate is an indicator of the poor physical fitness or even the heart disease isn’t very much clear. An important question is whether the higher heart rate is a modifiable risk factor for a premature death.

A very fast resting heart rate is able to affect the body in several ways that can be bad for the heart

High pulse rate high blood pressure

A rising heart rate does not lead to the blood pressure to increase at the same given rate. Even though the heart is beating much more times, healthy blood vessels usually dilate so as to allow more blood to flow through easily.

When a person exercise, the heart speeds up so that more blood is able to reach the muscles. It might be possible for the high pulse rate to double much more safely, while the blood pressure can respond by increasing a modest amount

High pulse rate symptoms

When the heart’s rate is very much rapid, it might not effectively pump blood to the rest parts of the body, depriving the organs and also the tissues of much needed oxygen. This can lead to these tachycardia-related signs and symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid high pulse rate
  • Heart palpitations — an irregular heartbeat or a sensation of “flopping” in chest
  • Fainting
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Some individuals who experience tachycardia indicate no symptoms, and the condition is discovered with a heart-monitoring test known as the electrocardiogram

Several conditions can lead to a high pulse rate and also the tachycardia symptoms. It’s vital to get a prompt diagnosis and an appropriate care. See the doctor if the child is having any tachycardia symptoms.

Effects of high heart rate

The research team found out the factors that are likely to impact the results and found out that:

  • a resting heart rate of about 80 beats per minute is linked to about 40% elevated number of risks of death
  • a resting heart rate of about 90 beats per minute much doubled the risk, as compared with the ones with the lowest rate
  • resting heart rates that is over 90 beats per minute usually triples the risk

High pulse rate treatment

Stopping a fast heart rate

A fast heartbeat might able to correct itself, and you can be able to slow the heart rate by use of simple physical movements. But, you might require medication or any other medical treatment so as to slow down the heartbeat. Ways to slow the high pulse rate t are:

1. Vagal maneuvers.

The doctor can ask you to do an action, known as a vagal maneuver, during an episode of fast high pulse rate.

Vagal maneuvers normally affect the vagus nerve, which assists to regulate the heartbeat. The maneuvers are coughing, and putting an ice pack on the face.

2. Medications.

If the maneuvers don’t stop the fast high pulse rate, you might require an injection of an anti-arrhythmic medication so as to restore a normal high pulse rate. An injection of the drug is administered.

The doctor may prescribe a pill of an anti-arrhythmic drug, like the flecainide or propafenone, to take if you are experiencing a fast heartbeat that does not respond to the maneuvers.

3. Cardioversion.

Here, a shock is usually delivered to the heart through use of paddles or even the patches on the chest. The current usually affects the electrical impulses that are in the heart and then restores a normal rhythm. It’s is used when emergency care is requires or when maneuvers and medications aren’t that much effective.

Preventing episodes of a fast heart rate

With the following treatments, it might be possible to prevent episodes of the tachycardia.

1. Catheter ablation.

This particular procedure is normally used when an electrical pathway is responsible for an increased high pulse rate.

A doctor inserts catheters into the groin, arm or even the neck and then guides them through the blood vessels to the heart. Electrodes that are at the catheter tips might use the heat, extreme cold or even the radiofrequency energy so as to damage the extra electrical pathway and thus prevent it from sending any electrical signals.

This kind of procedure is very effective, especially for the supraventricular tachycardia. It can also be used in treatment of atrial fibrillation and also atrial flutter.

2. Medications.

Anti-arrhythmic medications are used to prevent a fast high pulse rate when they are taken regularly.

Other medications that might be prescribed are calcium channel blockers, like the diltiazem and verapamil, or beta blockers, like the metoprolol and esmolol.

3. Pacemaker.

A pacemaker is a very small device that’s surgically implanted under the skin. When the device senses that the body is having an abnormal high pulse rate, it then emits an electrical pulse that assists the heart to resume a very normal beat.

4. Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.

If you’re at risk of a life-threatening tachycardia episode, then the doctor can recommend an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.

Further references;

  1. Tachycardia: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/175241.php
  2. Tachycardia: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tachycardia/basics/causes/con-20043012
  3. What Causes High Blood Pressure After Surgery: http://www.healthline.com/health/what-causes-high-blood-pressure-after-surgery#1
  4. Effects of Anesthesia on the Heart: https://healdove.com/health-care-industry/Effects-of-Anesthesia-on-the-Heart
  5. Is a Heart Rate of 170 Too High for Running: http://www.livestrong.com/article/369725-is-a-heart-rate-of-170-too-high-for-running/
  6. Physical Changes During Pregnancy: http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/women-s-health-issues/normal-pregnancy/physical-changes-during-pregnancy
  7. High ‘Resting’ Heart Rate and Odds of Early Death: http://www.webmd.com/heart/news/20151123/high-resting-heart-rate-tied-to-higher-odds-of-early-death#2

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