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Who's at Risk for Tachycardia?

Who's at Risk for Tachycardia?

One of the most important attributes of a healthy heart is sustaining a regular and continual rate of 60-100 beats a minute, allowing the organ to deliver critical oxygen and nutrients to your body. 

When there’s a problem with your heart’s rhythm, it can lead to tachycardia — a heartbeat greater than 100 times a minute.

There are a number of different arrhythmias that can lead to tachycardia, which is why our team here at Heart Rhythm Associates, under the expert direction of Dr. Van De Bruyn, thought we’d take this opportunity to discuss these arrhythmias and who may be more at risk.

Arrhythmias that lead to tachycardia

As we pointed out, there are several different types of arrhythmias that can lead to tachycardia, including:

Atrial fibrillation

This is the most common cause of tachycardia and occurs when the electrical impulses in your upper atria fire rapidly or haphazardly. With atrial fibrillation, the chaotic electrical impulses interfere with your sinus node, which is your heart’s natural pacemaker, causing your heart to beat too quickly.

Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)

This abnormally fast heartbeat originates above the two lower chambers of your heart (your ventricles) and typically occurs because of faulty circuitry in your heart that’s present at birth.

Ventricular tachycardia

If your fast heart rate is caused by abnormal electrical signals in your ventricles, it can lead to ventricular tachycardia.

Ventricular fibrillation

If rapid or chaotic electrical impulses develop in your ventricles, it can cause these chambers to quiver instead of pump. This type of tachycardia is life-threatening if you don’t receive prompt treatment and restoration of your heart’s rhythm.

While we’ve outlined the different types of arrhythmias that can lead to tachycardia, we should point out that tachycardia can occur for completely benign reasons, such as overexertion or drinking caffeine. 

These tachycardia events are usually only temporary and your heart’s rhythm eventually regulates itself again shortly afterward.

Risks for tachycardia

If your tachycardia stems from an arrhythmia, each of these rhythm disorders can occur for different reasons, which means there are very different risk factors involved.

For example, we mentioned that an SVT is usually present at birth, which means it’s a congenital problem in which risk factors can’t be mitigated.

For the purposes of this discussion, let’s concentrate on the most common arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that more than 12 million people will have atrial fibrillation by 2030.

This condition may be influenced by several factors, including:

Many of these same factors place you more at risk for heart attack, which is typically when ventricular fibrillation occurs.

While there’s no single list of risk factors that may lead to tachycardia, there are plenty of conditions and behaviors that can influence your heart health and result in an overly fast heart rate.

If you have more questions about how tachycardia can develop and, more importantly, how we can go about reestablishing a better rhythm in your heart, contact our office in Little Rock, Arkansas, to schedule a consultation.

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