Tachycardia is the medical term for a heart rate that exceeds 100 beats per minute. The normal heart rate in most adults falls between 60 to 100 beats per minute. Anything above this is typically considered abnormal, but this can vary among individuals.
Excessively fast heartbeats are considered normal under certain conditions, such as after serious exercises or in response to shock. Tachycardia causes the heart to beat excessively fast even in the absence of such conditions. It occurs as a result of strange electrical impulses in the upper or lower chambers of the heart that accelerate the heart rate.
The heart pumps blood less efficiently when it beats too fast. This reduces blood flow to the rest of the body, including the heart. The muscles, which need oxygen to function properly, do not get enough oxygen as a result. Over time, this can cause the oxygen-deprived cells to die and can result in a heart attack. Tachycardia increases the risk of stroke, heart failure, and death.
There are many types of tachycardia. Depending on the underlying cause, tachycardia can be benign or life-threatening. Some people with tachycardia show no symptoms and never develop complications.
While measuring your heart rate yourself is a serious challenge, knowing which symptoms to look for can help you know when your fast heartbeat has progressed into tachycardia. If you experience the following symptoms, it may be a sign you have tachycardia.