If your cardiologist diagnoses you with tachycardia, it means that you have a rapid heart rate. Tachycardia refers to a heart rate above 100 beats per minute; the normal heart rate ranges from 50 to 100 beats per minute. Although tachycardia does not always lead to other health complications, your heart doctor will likely explain that it can increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest and stroke.
There are a few different types of tachycardia; ask your cardiologist which type you have. Abnormalities in the electrical impulses around the heart can cause paroxysmal atrial tachycardia (PAT) and paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT). Ventricular tachycardia (VT) affects the lower heart chambers, and may be caused by certain medications or heart disease. If your cardiologist diagnoses you with ventricular fibrillation (VF), you will likely require immediate medical attention to prevent damage to the brain.
Certain risk factors may increase the chances of developing tachycardia, including the consumption of excessive amounts of caffeine or alcohol. Smoking also contributes to the risk of tachycardia, along with anxiety and fatigue. Talk to your cardiologist about lifestyle changes to reduce your risk.
Along with a rapid heartbeat, the typical symptoms of tachycardia include dizziness and lightheadedness. Your heart doctor may ask if you feel nauseous, have fainted in the past, or have experienced chest pain. Shortness of breath and cold sweats might also accompany tachycardia.
Treatment and Prevention Measures
Tachycardia requires the attention of a heart doctor if you experience frequent or prolonged episodes of a rapid heartbeat. For mild cases, a doctor might perform a carotid sinus massage. Severe cases require medication or implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs). Long-term prevention measures typically include reducing caffeine and alcohol, getting adequate rest, and quitting cigarettes.
If you experience frequent or prolonged tachycardia, see a heart health doctor right away. If you live in the Glendale or Peoria area, contact the cardiology experts at Cardiac Solutions to learn more about treatment options. Schedule an appointment by calling (623) 876-8816 or visit our website to learn more.