Cardiac tachycardia: when is it the norm, and when do you need to sound the alarm – the cardiologist answers

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What should be the normal pulse

First, let’s figure out how a heartbeat appears. The heart rhythm consists of alternating contractions (systole) and relaxation (diastole) of the heart. In the upper part of the right atrium there is a sinus node, which controls this process: it generates electrical excitation impulses with a certain frequency (this is how the sinus rhythm is set). That is why he is called the pacemaker.

Normally, in an adult, the heart rate (HR) ranges from 60-90 beats per minute. The pulse can be frequent (more than 90 beats / min) or rare (less than 60 beats / min).

This is an important indicator of our well-being and a symptom that may indicate pathology. Therefore, it is important to know what the rate of heart rate is and take into account the circumstances under which it rises.

Physiological tachycardia: what is it?

Tachycardia may be physiological. It occurs in healthy people as a reaction to various external influences: physical activity, stress, fear, overwork, and so on. Physiological sinus tachycardia in healthy individuals (including those with other concomitant diseases) has a good prognosis and is not life-threatening. This type of tachycardia is not subject to treatment. However, external provoking factors can be eliminated: do not overeat, exclude alcohol, smoking.

During sleep and rest, the heart of a healthy person contracts less frequently – with a frequency of about 50-70 beats per minute.

Heart rate and exercise

During physical activity, for example, the pulse can reach 130-150 beats per minute. And in this case, tachycardia occurs in response to the release of adrenaline into the blood and activation of the sympathetic nervous system. And when we stop exercising and the external factor disappears, the heart rate gradually returns to normal.

The central nervous system constantly monitors the needs of the body and, if necessary, speeds up or slows down the work of the heart. During exercise, the body needs more oxygen and nutrients, so the sinus node begins to generate excitation impulses at a higher frequency and the heart beats more often. This is how tachycardia occurs. Under the circumstances, this is a normal reaction of the body.

It is not so easy for athletes to achieve an increase in heart rate during physical exertion, but in a healthy, but untrained person, tachycardia develops quickly. The way out is to gradually train endurance.

Pathological tachycardia

There is tachycardia in the usual sense for us – pathological. It appears in various diseases: coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, arrhythmia. At risk are the elderly (due to age-related changes in the heart tissue). The tendency to tachycardia can be inherited. Pathological tachycardia differs from physiological pathological tachycardia in that it can occur without the influence of physical or emotional factors.

Among the types of tachycardia related to disorders of the functioning of the heart, supraventricular and ventricular are distinguished. The first is characterized by disorders that occur at the level of the atria. Ventricular tachycardia is a serious deviation from the norm, which is dangerous with the risk of disruption of the rhythm and sudden cessation of the heartbeat.

Many people confuse tachycardia with arrhythmia. Any deviation from the normal frequency and uniformity of heart contractions is considered an arrhythmia, this is a broader concept, including tachycardia as well. At the same time, tachycardia is characterized by the uniformity of the heart rate, but their number increases to more than 100 beats per minute. In this case, tachycardia can be dangerous.

Additional research methods

As a result of an increase in the heart rate, the blood supply to all organs (including the heart) deteriorates, hypoxia develops, and blood pressure decreases. Long periods of tachycardia significantly reduce the efficiency of the heart, disrupting myocardial contractility, causing a feeling of lack of air, dizziness, and weakness. The occurrence of complications significantly worsens the prognosis of patients.

In such cases, it is necessary to consult a doctor, determine the cause of the tachycardia that has arisen and adjust the treatment if you are already taking medication. In some cases, additional research methods may be required: ECG (electrocardiography) and Holter monitoring (24-hour ECG monitoring).


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