High Pulse Rate Causes
There Are Many Causes Of High Pulse Rate
The causes of high pulse rate can be placed in two broad categories. On the one hand, a high heart rate, hence a high pulse rate, can be attributed to normal conditions in which your heart is beating faster because it is called upon to do more work, when you are exercising for example. On the other hand, your pulse may be racing due to the fact that something is wrong. You aren't doing anything that would normally cause your pulse rate to increase, but something is happening that is making your heart work harder. That "something" isn't always serious, but could be.
Take the time to learn what your resting pulse rate is. It won't be a constant, but should stay within 5 beats per minute or so of some average value. A resting heart rate will vary from person to person, but typically is in the range from 60 to 80 beats per minute. As a rule of thumb, if your resting heart rate rises to over 100 beats per minute, and stays that way for more than a few seconds, it would be advisable to call your doctor, at least to see if he or she thinks a visit to the office would be appropriate. There are reasons why your heart may start beating faster, even while you are at rest, that are not indicative of any serious condition. But it often isn't a normal condition and “better safe than sorry” may apply here.
When High Is Good - As mentioned in the beginning, exercise is one of the causes of high pulse rate. When you exercise, particularly if it is an aerobic exercise such as jogging or working out on a treadmill, you try to reach what is called your target heart rate. For most people this target heart rate is well over 100 beats per minute. It will often be 120 to 140 beats per minute, and even higher for individuals who are in peak physical condition. Such a pulse rate is not only normal, but is healthy when sustained over a certain period of time. The heart is being exercised, which is good for it.
Your Pulse Is A Tachometer - If your resting pulse rate exceeds 100 though, there's a term for it, tachycardia. When you look closer at this somewhat imposing word, note that it has two parts, tachy - like the tachometer in your automobile, which measures the speed at which your engine is running in rpm, and cardia - which of course refers to the heart. So, tachycardia is literally "speeding heart".
Causes Of Tachycardia - The causes of high pulse rate or tachycardia can be anything that makes your heart do more work. If you have a fever, your heart will work harder, and your pulse rate will increase. An excess of adrenaline in the system will do the same, almost all of us have experienced that at one time or another. Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine will cause a higher pulse rate, particularly if you take in a large amount at one time to get a "jolt". Thyroid problems, asthma, and both high and low blood pressure can cause your pulse rate to increase. If you have a deficiency in B vitamins or certain trace minerals, such as potassium, your heart will work harder in reaction to the deficiency, and a chronic condition of a high pulse rate may be the result. You then have a condition where other body organs are suffering from the deficiency, plus your heart is working harder than it needs to.
When The Heart Itself Is The Villain - The heart itself may the source of the problem. Causes of high pulse rate are sometimes traced to a malfunction in the electrical system of the heart muscle, which causes it to beat rapidly, perhaps up to 200 beats per minute. As alarming as this condition, called paroxysmal supra-ventricular tachycardia (PSVT) sounds, it is seldom life-threatening, and normally quite treatable. Even if the pulse rate, in addition to being very high, becomes very erratic, the condition, atrial fibrillation, is also treatable and generally not serious. It is when the pulse rate becomes extremely high, several hundred beats per minute, the heart is said to suffer from ventricular fibrillation, and can stop, bringing on death.
Conditions such as emphysema, hardening of the arteries, heart disease, and the aforementioned thyroid problems are among the causes of high pulse rate as a chronic condition and require treatment. Causes of high pulse rate which are temporary in nature and generally do not require treatment include fear, stress, anxiety, and often, certain medications. Even eating a heavy meal can result in a temporary increase in pulse rate. People who have suffered from heart attacks are more prone to high pulse rates, in fact for them, the condition is rather common.