Question on Tachycardia
What is considered a healthy resting pulse rate? At what rate should there be concern? Does excess weight influence this? If blood pressure readings are normal, why would a heart rate be high?
The normal resting heart rate in an adult is 72-78 beats per minute. The resting heart rate decreases with age- an infant has a resting heart rate of 110-150 beats per minute. The resting heart rate is usually slower in trained athletes and healthy young adults, often around 60 beats per minute. A heart rate below 60 in a non-athletic adult usually indicates a heart problem which should be investigated.
A heart rate greater than 100 beats per minute in the adult is called tachycardia. It can be caused by a number of things including emotional upset, exercise, hyperthyroidism, low blood pressure, decreased oxygenation of the blood, fever, anemia, hemorrhage, infections, heart failure and inflammation of the heart. Drugs which stimulate the sympathetic nervous system can also cause tachycardia and include nicotine, caffeine, marijuana, belladonna alkaloids and propantheline. Sudden onset of very rapid heart rate indicates a severe heart arrhythmia.
Excess weight can increase heart rate due to the increased work load placed on the heart. Blood pressure may be normal or even decreased with an high heart rate.
If your heart rate at rest is elevated above normal or is above 100 with normal activity or if you experience sudden episodes of very fast heart rate, you should have it checked by the doctor right away. Treatment of tachycardia is directed toward treatment of the underlying condition.