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Tachycardia comes from two Greek words - 'tachys' meaning rapid and 'kardia' meaning related to the heart. In simple words, tachycardia refers to an abnormally accelerated heart rate, which exceeds the resting heart rate in an individual. This is a serious condition, which can become near fatal, in cases where the heartbeat suddenly shoots up, causing overworking of the heart, which in turn leads to the heart pumping less efficiently and providing less blood to the rest of the body, including the heart. This in turn leads to decreased flow of oxygen to the heart, which may have dire consequences, like angina, ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarctions, and other heart diseases. Given below are the various types and causes of this heart condition.

The Types
  • Sinus tachycardia
  • Ventricular tachycardia
  • Supraventricular tachycardia
Causes

Heart Problems
One of the most common causes of suddenly increased heart rate is heart related conditions and diseases. Many heart diseases and disorders show tachycardia as one of the first symptoms of something being wrong. Given below is a list of causes related to the heart problems:
  • Long-term high blood pressure is often implicated as one of the causes of high heart rate. This occurs because the heart, in people suffering from hypertension, has already been overworking for a long period. So, in cases where a person undergoes any kind of stress, the heart does not manage to keep up with the amount of oxygen required, which eventually leads to tachycardia.
  • Heart valvular diseases also lead to this condition. This is because, any malfunctioning of the heart valves leads to leakage of blood in the heart chambers. This causes unnatural pressure on the ventricles, which may react unnaturally, leading to rapid heart rate.
  • Myocarditis, which is the inflammation of the heart muscles, or pericarditis, which is the inflammation of the pericardium (the fibrous sac surrounding the heart), can lead to rapid pumping of the heart. In any kind of inflammation of the heart, there can be tachycardia, along with other symptoms, like chest pain and shortness of breath.
  • Dysfunctioning of the pacemaker of the heart is also one of the main causes of this condition. If the pacemaker of the heart does not function properly, it can lead to abnormalities in the heart rate and different types of arrhythmias.
  • Insufficient oxygen to the heart muscles can lead to tachycardia. This is because, heart muscles cannot function properly, if they are asphyxiated. Thus, in cases of heart attacks and other such diseases, there may be eventual myocardial infarction, which may lead to sudden increase in the rate at which the heart beats. Even coronary heart disease can lead to sudden rapid heart rate.
Diet and Lifestyle
Unhealthy habits and an unhealthy lifestyle can also be one of the causes of atrial tachycardia. A diet that is high in cholesterol can lead to a condition called atherosclerosis, where there are fat deposits on the inner walls of the arteries, which, in turn, leads to lesser blood flow to the heart. Excessive intake of alcohol and caffeine can also affect the functioning of the heart, leading to fibrillations and high heart rate. Excessive stress is also said to be one of the many alarming causes of this condition seen in young adults. Although transient tachycardia is seen in situations, where the person is nervous and anxious, such conditions are not very grave, as the symptoms normally recede after the situation resolves. Drug abuse may also lead to this condition. A diet that is very high or very low in sodium, can also be one of the leading causes of this condition, as this leads to electrolyte imbalance symptoms, which often manifest as tachycardia.

Other Diseases
Certain other diseases may also affect the heart, leading to its increased rate of pumping. These conditions include, disorders, where there is thickening of blood, due to which, the viscous blood acts as a hindrance to normal blood flow. Furthermore, other blood related disorders, where there is poor circulation of blood, can also be one of the causes. Certain thyroid disorders, like hyperthyroidism, may be a cause of sinus tachycardia. Lung diseases also lead to tachycardia, like emphysema, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, etc. Certain drugs and medications may also lead to an abnormal heart rate, like a sudden change in the dosage of anti-arrhythmic drugs etc.

The aforementioned condition of the heart is a very serious symptom that shouldn't be taken lightly. Although this symptom often occurs due to an underlying disease, it can easily be prevented by following a healthy lifestyle, supplemented by exercise and a good diet.