What is the connection between palpitations and tachycardia?

Tachycardia is one of the main causes of palpitations. When the heart beats at an abnormally fast rate, a tachycardia occurs. This can cause abnormal sensations in the body called palpitations. Both palpitations and tachycardia generally originate from cardiac arrhythmia. When palpitations are linked to tachycardia, tachycardia treatment protocols will usually relieve the palpitations.

The typical chain of events for tachycardia-related heart palpitations begins with the arrhythmia, which is perhaps best described as electrical failures in the heart. When this effect occurs, the heart rate can slow down or speed up. The latter case constitutes tachycardia. The rapid heartbeat causes a pounding or pulsing sensation in the body, particularly at the pulse points. These physical sensations characterize palpitations.

Various underlying conditions can cause palpitations and tachycardia. Heart disease and heart failure are the main culprits in many cases of tachycardia. Risk factors for developing these particular conditions may include high cholesterol levels and genetic susceptibility. Also, a heart deformity such as a faulty heart valve can create abnormal heart rhythms. Similarly, low potassium levels and other electrolyte influences can damage the heart.

Different types of tachycardia can cause palpitations. A typically less serious cause of palpitations and tachycardia arises from problems in the heart's atria. Specifically, supraventricular tachycardia affects the young and the healthy. This tachycardia can occur frequently and for long periods of time.

A more severe form of tachycardia directly affects the ventricular chamber of the heart. Ventricular tachycardia generally affects older populations with pre-existing heart problems. This condition can cause severe loss of consciousness bordering on or even unconscious. Certain symptoms can raise the level of severity of palpitations and tachycardia of this type. Accompanying dizziness or fainting can serve as major warning signs.

To determine the likelihood of palpitations and tachycardia, people should become familiar with their normal heart rates. Experts estimate an average adult heart rate at 60 to 100 beats per minute. If an individual's heart rate exceeds normal pulse levels, particularly if the number is significantly above 100 beats per minute, palpitations are likely to occur. If the palpitations occur frequently, an underlying arrhythmia problem such as tachycardia could be present.

Although the connections are common, palpitations and tachycardia are not always linked. For one thing, other types of arrhythmia can also cause palpitations. Sometimes the source of palpitation isn't even related to the heart, such as when low blood sugar, thyroid gland problems, or anxiety are to blame.

Treatment of palpitations usually requires treating the tachycardia arrhythmia. As such, medications called antiarrhythmics are often prescribed. Pacemakers or other devices that deliver electrical shocks to the heart may also be needed in some cases.

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