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What are the Different Causes of Rapid Heart Beats?

Rapid heartbeats, or tachycardia, can stem from stress, caffeine, exercise, or medical conditions like arrhythmias and hyperthyroidism. Even dehydration and sleep deprivation can quicken your pulse. Understanding these triggers is crucial for heart health. How might your lifestyle be influencing your heart rate? Explore with us as we examine the intricate factors affecting your heartbeat's tempo. What will you discover about your heart?
Nicole Long
Nicole Long

There are both expected and abnormal causes of rapid heart beats. Under certain circumstances, such as exercise, stress, and fear, a person’s heart may beat faster. Abnormal causes of rapid heart beats, or tachycardia, include infection, coronary artery disease, and heart attack.

A healthy person’s heart will normally beat approximately 60 to 100 beats per minute. Anything outside of this range is considered abnormal. Tachycardia refers to a condition that causes the heart to beat beyond 100 beats per minute, while bradycardia is when the heart drops below 60 beats per minute.

A human heart.
A human heart.

Everyday circumstances can lead to a rapid heart beat. Exercise will raise an individual’s heart rate above the normal resting rate. While this is an example of a cause of rapid heart beats, it isn’t a cause for concern as long as the individual is monitored for any excessive increases in heart rate outside of their typical maximum heart rate that should be sustained during exercise. In those that suffer from stress, anxiety, and panic attacks, the sensation of a racing heart can lead many to worry, but it typically is more of a psychological problem and not related to the health of an individual’s heart.

Anxiety can cause rapid heart beats.
Anxiety can cause rapid heart beats.

An infection can also be one of the causes of rapid heart beats. Upper respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, can place added stress on the cardiovascular system, leading to a rapid heart beat. Another infection that can lead to a rapid heart beat is rheumatic fever.

Diseases and conditions of the heart are perhaps the most well-known causes of rapid heart beats. This includes diseases such as coronary artery disease and conditions such as ventricular tachycardia and supraventricular tachycardia. In addition to a rapid heart beat, those suffering from these conditions may also notice an irregular or skipping heart beat.

Rapid heart beating might be caused by drinking too much caffeine.
Rapid heart beating might be caused by drinking too much caffeine.

Those experiencing a rapid heart beat should speak to a physician as soon as possible to find the cause. Emergency medical treatment is necessary when a person experiences a rapid heart beat in combination with several other symptoms. These include chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, and vision changes.

Testing will be done to determine the best approach to treatment. For rapid heart beat caused by stress and anxiety, this may include behavior modification therapy to help patients learn how to handle stressful situations and limit the physical effects of stress. Those with an underlying disease or condition will receive treatment specific to their condition. Treatment options include lifestyle changes, medication, and surgery.

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Discussion Comments


@literally45-- Do you have anxiety or panic?

Anxiety and panic can really increase heart rate. When we're stressed, our mind believes that we're under threat and releases hormones like adrenaline to help us fight the threat or run away. These hormones cause symptoms like rapid heart beat and shortness of breath.

If you have been suffering from stress and anxiety for a long time, you might feel that you have a rapid heart beat even when you don't.

You should talk to your doctor about it. He might want to check for underlying heart conditions. And if you're healthy, you can probably resolve this issue by treating your anxiety.


Sometimes I feel that I have a sudden rapid heart beat. But when I check my pulse, it's normal. Why do I feel like this?


I normally have high blood pressure but it has been under control for years. Recently, my doctor switched me to a new blood pressure medication. I don't know if it was an allergy or a negative drug interaction, but the medication gave me tachycardia. I waited for a while to see if it would go away, but the racing heart beat got worse and I was seriously worried about having a heart attack. I had to call an ambulance.

They arrived at my house, took my pulse and blood pressure and said that both were high. I showed them the medication I took and the nurse gave me a sedative to calm me down. The sedative really helped and lowered my heart beat to a great extent.

I still went to the hospital and got an EKG. Everything came back normal. I just have to be very careful about what medications I'm taking.

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    • A human heart.
      By: zurbagan
      A human heart.
    • Anxiety can cause rapid heart beats.
      By: forestpath
      Anxiety can cause rapid heart beats.
    • Rapid heart beating might be caused by drinking too much caffeine.
      By: Dave Newman
      Rapid heart beating might be caused by drinking too much caffeine.