is a generic term for an abnormal heart rhythm, manifested by a beating that is too fast. The heart rate is then greater than 100 beats per minute, as opposed to a normal rate of 60 to 80 beats per minute on average. The causes of tachycardia are many: some are physiological, as in the case of a physical effort or emotion, and others are a symptom of a disease, such as heart disease, infection, a hormone disorder or dehydration. There are many types of tachycardia depending on the mechanism involved: sinus tachycardia, atrial tachycardia, junctional tachycardia or Bouveret disease, ventricular tachycardia, tachycardia due to Wolff-Pakinson-White, torsades de pointes, etc..
Symptoms of tachycardia are:
- an increase in heart rate above 100 beats per minute;
- palpitations (the perception of one's own heart beats);
- syncope with loss of consciousness in the most severe cases.
Tachycardia is easily identifiable if it is still present at the time of a consultation: the taking of the patient's pulse, complemented by cardiac auscultation will do the trick. The doctor will also address any known family history and other pathologies. He will seek an identifiable cause for the occurrence of this tachycardia, by measuring its duration and other associated clinical signs. If a benign cause is suspected and the heart rate returns to normal, no further investigation is necessary. Sometimes other tests will be performed: an electrocardiogram (ECG) can be worn by the patient for 24 hours (called Holter-ECG). Based on the results of the ECG, more specific tests are possible.
The treatment of tachycardia depends on its nature. It can be medicated with beta-blockers, and calcium channel blockers or antiarrhythmic substances, according to the pathology involved. If tachycardia is the result of a disorder or identified pathology, the doctor will treat the disease that is responsible.
Tachycardia that is secondary to a pathology can be prevented by preventing the disease in question. To prevent tachycardia, it is advisable to avoid consuming too many stimulants such as tobacco, tea, chocolate and coffee. It is also strongly recommended to perform regular excercise and opt for a healthy diet.
Original article published by
. Translated by Jeff