Tachycardia: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Tachycardia is a heart rate that is too fast. Tachycardia occurs normally in times of stress, anxiety, or fear, but the heart rate returns to normal when the precipitating event or stimulus is removed. It also occurs as a normal response to intense exercise. In some medical conditions, the heart rate may be persistently elevated. Examples include certain arrhythmias of the heart. Thyroid diseases can also cause an elevation of the heart rate. The heart rate may be elevated when body temperature is high or due to taking certain medications. Cigarette smoking and excessive caffeine intake also cause tachycardia, as well as abuse of alcohol and recreational drugs. Other causes of fast heart rate include anemia, panic disorder, and diseases that damage the heart itself.

Related Symptoms & Signs

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/15/2017
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