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Fast heart rate or irregular heart rhythm and shortness of breath during physical activities

Exercise increases heart rate, but the rate usually returns to normal within minutes after the exercise stops. Anyone who has a fast heart rate or irregular rhythm with shortness of breath for an extended period of time after physical activity may have a heart problem. Anyone who has palpitations, an irregular heart rhythm, lightheadedness, or fainting when he or she is physically active needs to be evaluated before activities are continued.

If you have heart disease or heart failure, or if you have had a heart attack, be sure you understand the seriousness of a change in your heart rate or rhythm.

Recommended Related to Heart Disease

Do You Really Need Bypass Surgery?

It's the news you don't want to hear from your cardiologist: One or more of your coronary arteries -- the blood vessels that supply blood to your heart -- is blocked. You have coronary artery disease, the No. 1 killer of U.S. adults. So does this mean you're headed for bypass surgery? Maybe not, if your situation isn't an emergency. You might have other options -- including less drastic procedures to reopen those arteries, medication alone, or even radical lifestyle change. What's your best option?...

Read the Do You Really Need Bypass Surgery? article > >

Author Jan Nissl, RN, BS
Editor Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN, MBA
Associate Editor Tracy Landauer
Primary Medical Reviewer William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Updated April 24, 2009

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 24, 2009
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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