When the rate of the heartbeat of a person remains faster than the normal rate, it is termed as sinus tachycardia. This article discusses if sinus tachycardia is serious and what medications are used to treat sinus tachycardia.

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When the rate of the heartbeat of a person remains faster than the normal rate, it is termed as sinus tachycardia. This article discusses if sinus tachycardia is serious and what medications are used to treat sinus tachycardia.

Normally, the heart rate remains at 60 to 100 beats per minute. In our heart, there is a natural pacemaker whose function is to generate electrical impulse. This in turn moves through the muscles of the heart, which causes the heartbeat. However, sometimes, the natural pacemaker of the heart sends the electrical impulse at a faster rate than normal. This results in sinus tachycardia, in which the heart rate becomes more than 100 beats per minute.

Is Sinus Tachycardia Serious?

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Is Sinus Tachycardia Serious?

There are various reasons for which the heart rate increases. Sometimes when we exercise, lift heavy weight or experience some kind of stress, fear, excitement or anxiety our heart rate increases. This condition is called as normal sinus tachycardia. This is absolutely normal and there is no reason to worry about as it is natural to experience such a rapid heartbeat. Studies have shown that in most cases, sinus tachycardia is physiological, which means related to emotional or physical stress.1 So, during such condition, no treatment is required.

However, when you experience increased heart rate without any obvious cause or a trigger, like when you are resting, it indicates some serious threat or abnormalities.

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Such condition is called as inappropriate sinus tachycardia. In case of Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia (IST), the patient feels several symptoms apart from rapid heartbeat such as shortness of breath, dizziness, anxiety, chest pain, etc. While answering this question, is sinus tachycardia serious, this factor needs to be considered.

There are several reasons due to which inappropriate sinus tachycardia (IST) is caused and sometimes it becomes difficult to find out the exact cause. Some of the probable causes of inappropriate sinus tachycardia (IST) are:

  • Unusual nerve signaling due to which the heart rate increases
  • Dysfunction of nerves
  • Problems in the natural pacemaker of the heart, i.e., sinus node.

Sometimes inappropriate sinus tachycardia (IST) is also caused due to the combination of the above-mentioned factors. So, in such cases, it is necessary to take proper treatment. Otherwise, it may have serious consequence such as heart attack, inability to pump enough blood to the heart, frequent fainting episodes, ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation that may cause sudden death to the patient.

What Medications are Used to Treat Sinus Tachycardia?

No medications may be needed to treat physiological sinus tachycardia. In case of normal sinus tachycardia, you just need to modify your diet and lifestyle. Avoid things that can cause rapid heartbeat such as recreational drugs, stressful situations, alcohol, etc. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthy food and regular exercise also helps in maintaining a healthy heart rate.

When it comes to Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia (IST) it is required to take certain medications. The medications used to treat sinus tachycardia are prescribed medicines and must be taken only according to medical advice. Doctors usually prescribe anti-arrhythmic medications in treating the patient of inappropriate sinus tachycardia (IST).

Other medications that doctors prefer to prescribe are calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, etc. Sometimes, channel blockers or beta blockers are given in combination with anti-arrhythmic medications. Apart from these medications, there are some other ways to treat Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia (IST) and that includes vagal maneuvers, cardioversion, catheter ablation, surgery, inserting pacemaker and implantable cardioverter.

Conclusion

It is mostly seen that people take it very lightly when they experience rapid heartbeat. It is true that experiencing rapid heartbeat after exercise or stressful condition is normal. However, if the rapid heartbeat is caused without any reason then you should take it seriously. Sinus tachycardia can be serious if it is a result of any underlying cardiac cause. While the medications used to treat sinus tachycardia help to manage the condition, it is important to follow medical advice and lifestyle measures too.

Most importantly if you experience high palpitations, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting spells, fatigue, breathlessness or chest pain then you should not take any chance but immediately visit a cardiologist to find out the exact reason of the rapid heartbeat and other such symptoms and start the treatment immediately.

References:  

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Sheetal DeCaria MD

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

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Last Modified On: July 9, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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