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Tachycardia, a heart rate of 100 beats per minute or more, can occur when you exercise, feel stressed, or consume too much caffeine. But it could also mean your heart rhythm is wrong or indicate some underlying cardiac issue.

Deciding if you need to go to the hospital for a fast heartbeat depends on your health history and how you are feeling. If you have other symptoms, such as chest pain, dizziness, fainting, or having trouble breathing, it’s important to get medical help immediately.

Normal Heart Rate

In grown-ups, a regular heart rate is usually between 60 to 100 beats per minute (bpm). When the heart beats slower than normal, it’s called bradycardia; when it beats faster, it’s called tachycardia.

But sometimes, having a heart rate higher or lower than usual is not concerning, depending on what you are doing. For instance, it’s normal for some people’s heart rates to be in the 50s while they are asleep. But when you are exercising, it’s expected for your heart rate to go above 100 bpm.

Measuring the Heart Rate

You first need to locate your pulse to measure whether your heart rate is stable. The best spots to feel the pulse are the carotid artery in your neck or the radial artery in your wrist. To find your carotid pulse, gently place two fingers below your jaw on either side of your windpipe.

To find your radial pulse, put two fingers on the side of your wrist near your thumb. Count the beats you feel for 15 seconds to check your heart rate, and then multiply that number by four. For example, if you count 20 beats in 15 seconds, your heart rate is 80 beats per minute (bpm).

Count the beats for 30 seconds and then double that number for a more precise measurement. For the most accurate result, count the beats for a full minute.

Strong Indications of Rapid Heart Rate

A fast heart rate can’t always be taken lightly, especially if accompanied by other symptoms. However, it is crucial to rule out if it’s a medical emergency. Following are some indicators:

  • If your heart is beating fast with chest pain, trouble breathing, fainting, or severe dizziness, call 911 or urgently rush to the ER. These could be signs of a serious problem like a heart attack or pulmonary embolism.
  • If your heart is racing but you don’t have any other symptoms, try to figure out why. Was it because of exercise, stress, or something else? Talk to your doctor if you are unsure why or can’t make it stop.
  • If you already have a heart condition and your heart is beating fast, follow the guidelines provided by your medical professional.

Final Takeaway

If you already have a heart issue, knowing “when to go to the hospital for rapid heart rate” can save you from experiencing worse symptoms later. Even if you are healthy, a constant rapid heart rate without a significant reason requires a professional diagnosis.

Visit Dr. Philip L Berman at Memorial Cardiology Associates. Our board-certified internal medicine and cardiology expert specializes in managing arrhythmias and various other cardiac conditions. Call us at (713) 464-6006 to schedule an appointment.

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