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Why does my heart race?

ANSWER

Irregular heartbeat is when your heart beats too slow, too fast, or skips beats. The normal heart averages between 60 and 100 beats per minute. When your heart beats faster than this, you have a condition called tachycardia.

When your heart races, it’s working too hard. It doesn’t have enough time to fill with blood or pump it to the rest of your body. You might have heart palpitations or chest pain. You may also feel dizzy or faint.

If you have heart disease or some types of lung disease, your chances of having tachycardia could be higher than normal. If you were born with an abnormal heart structure, this is called a congenital heart defect, and it might increase your odds as well.

Other factors, like fever, dehydration, or drinking too much caffeine, can also make your heart race.

SOURCES:

Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School: “Skipping a beat -- the surprise of heart palpitations.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Do You Have a Slow or Racing Heartbeat?”

Mayo Clinic: “Tachycardia,” “Bradycardia.”

Heart Rhythm Society: “Slow Heartbeat.”

American College of Cardiology: “Bradycardia (Slow Heart Rate).”

Reviewed by James Beckerman on August 01, 2018

SOURCES:

Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School: “Skipping a beat -- the surprise of heart palpitations.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Do You Have a Slow or Racing Heartbeat?”

Mayo Clinic: “Tachycardia,” “Bradycardia.”

Heart Rhythm Society: “Slow Heartbeat.”

American College of Cardiology: “Bradycardia (Slow Heart Rate).”

Reviewed by James Beckerman on August 01, 2018

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What medical treatment can my doctor suggest if my heart races too often?

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