A racing heart rate after exertion is no big deal. But if your heart continues to race with no sign of slowing, you may have tachycardia. Find a cardiologist in Manhattan as soon as you can, before you do permanent damage to your heart or suffer a cardiac arrest. It may be just a temporary condition, but an unexplained fast heart rate is also a sign of certain serious heart issues.
Tachycardia involves conditions that relate to an unusually fast heartbeat. It’s a form of arrhythmia. Although it depends on your age and physical condition, a heart rate of greater than 100 beats per minute usually qualifies as tachycardia.
If you’re experiencing a sustained fast heartbeat rate, find a cardiologist at the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center. During your consultation, he asks about your circumstances and health history to determine whether your increased heart rate is indicative of tachycardia. There are three types of this condition:
- Sinus tachycardia. You’ve likely experienced a racing heart after exercising, when you’re frightened, while fighting a fever or during extreme emotional distress. Certain medications also produce an increased heart rate. But if your racing heart doesn’t calm on its own, you need to address any lingering anxiety or stressful conditions.
- Atrial or supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). Disruptions in the electrical signals or damage to your heart muscle can cause SVT. It originates in the atria or upper chambers of your heart. These disruptions may be frequent and episodic. Finding appropriate lifestyle changes often helps resolve these occasional incidents.
- Ventricular tachycardia. Starting in the ventricles or lower chambers of your heart, these incidents usually occur when your sinoatrial node’s natural electrical signals experience some kind of interference. These events keep the chambers of your heart from filling completely, which compromises your blood flow. This condition may be a medical emergency.
Symptoms of Tachycardia
It’s possible you won’t experience any symptoms at all, but most people with tachycardia feel it when their heart races. Regardless of the underlying cause or which chambers of your heart are affected, common symptoms include:
- Lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting
- A fluttering sensation in your chest
- Shortness of breath
- A feeling of fatigue
- Chest pain, pressure or tightness
- Sustained rapid heartbeat
When your symptoms affect your everyday life, see your New York cardiologist as soon as possible. Maybe it’s just a temporary condition like sinus tachycardia. But if you have a more serious case of tachycardia, you may experience unconsciousness or cardiac arrest in your near future. A long-term, elevated heart rate can lead to severe cardiac events, such as a heart attack or stroke.
Causes and Risk Factors for Tachycardia
You may be among those who are more susceptible to tachycardia events. Understanding your risk factors and possible causes can help you manage your symptoms more effectively. And when your Manhattan cardiologist knows what’s causing your symptoms, he can develop a more targeted treatment plan.
Children and women seem more likely to experience events than men. Those with an anxiety disorder or going through a stressful time may be more susceptible, too. Anyone who is physically fatigued, smokes heavily, or drinks excessive amounts of caffeine or alcohol may also experience tachycardia more frequently. Underlying causes contribute to your heart’s ability to beat at a normal rate. These include:
- Certain medication side effects
- Illegal substances
- A problem with your coronary blood flow
- An abnormality in your heart’s structure
- Certain inflammation disorders, especially sarcoidosis, which affects the tissue of your organs
Diagnostic Tests for Tachycardia
Your New York cardiologist may order a number of tests to get to the bottom of your tachycardia, especially if your condition seems serious. Some of the more common tests include:
- An event monitor worn for several hours or days
- A Holter monitor used the same way
- Electrocardiogram, to test the electrical signals of your heart
- A stress test, which records your heart rate while exercising
- Electrophysiological tests
- Cardiac imaging, to get a better picture of your heart and its functioning, using MRIs, CT scans, chest x-rays, echocardiograms or coronary angiograms
The goal is to discover any underlying conditions that your cardiologist can resolve. Effective treatment relieves you of any uncomfortable or damaging symptoms. The doctors at the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center specialize in identifying and diagnosing the causes of your heart issues.
Tachycardia Treatment Options
While sinus tachycardia requires little or no treatment, more severe forms of the condition — as well as SVT or ventricular tachycardia — may require more extensive methods of treatment. How to treat tachycardia is best left to your cardiologist, so talk about your symptoms with your specialist. Effective treatments for more benign cases may include:
- Gentle pressure on closed eyelids, but only when a professional does it
- Sudden immersion in cold water, called the dive reflex
- Careful and gentle neck massage, centering on your arteries
- A method called the Valsalva maneuver that involves holding your nostrils and mouth closed as you try to blow air through your nasal sinuses
- Calming sedation
- Reducing caffeine, tobacco and alcohol in your life
- Extensive rest
- Weight loss
- A regular exercise regimen
More severe forms of tachycardia may require medication to slow your heart rate. Radiofrequency ablation and surgery are appropriate if more conservative methods fail. In the most serious situations, electrical defibrillation is used to slow your racing heartbeat. Make an appointment with one of the specialists at the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center if you’re experiencing a racing heart. They know how to treat tachycardia.
If you have any questions for the best in class Manhattan cardiologist or would like to schedule a consultation or appointment please feel free to contact Dr. Steven Reisman of the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center and indicate which Manhattan office (Upper East Side, Midtown Manhattan, or Wall Street / Financial District) you would like to see the cardiologist for tachycardia treatment consultation.