High Pulse Rate

The Truth about a High Pulse Rate

Most people are concerned if they think they have a high pulse rate. That’s because a high pulse rate and heart attack are usually thought of together. But there are many reasons you could have a high pulse rate and not all of them should be of concern.


A high pulse rate is known as tachycardia. A good resting heart rate is considered to be between 60 and 100 beats per minute (BPM). Anything above 100 is thought to be a high pulse rate. When you have a high heart beat, it means that your heart is not pumping efficiently. When you are sleeping, you should have a very low heart rate of around 40 BPM.

There are two types of tachycardia, depending on where in the heart it originates. Ventricular tachycardia starts in the ventricles and is commonly referred to as V-tach. Supra-ventricular tachycardia (SVT) is the type most people experience and it is not as dangerous as V-tach.


There are some causes of a high pulse rate which are temporary and some which are long-lasting. Some of the causes which are temporary are eating a heavy meal, medications, stimulants, such as coffee, tea or tobacco, stress and anxiety, physical exertion, vitamin deficiency, anemia and having a fever. When each of these conditions has passed, the heart rates once again returns to normal.

Heart disease is one of the major causes of a high pulse rate. Anything which causes the blood to pump harder increases the heart rate. This could be a heart attack, an infection of the heart or high blood pressure. Valve damage and hardening of the arteries also cause a high heart rate. So do hyper-thyroid activity and rate of metabolism.

The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease. There are many different reasons people acquire heart disease, such as smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and according to some studies, high pulse rate. In a study published in the British Medical Journal, among women the risk of heart attack was greatest among those with the highest heart rates.

In this particular study of the risk of heart attack, women who had a resting heart rate of 76 or more beats per minute had the highest risk of heart attack. Other studies have shown that this statistic is also true for men. If you do consistently suffer from a high pulse rate, you should discuss the situation with your doctor or cardiologist.

Sometimes medications to decrease cholesterol or blood pressure can slow the heart rate as can taking up a program of cardiac exercise. Exercise also decreases the chances of both heart attack and heart disease. Try taking your resting heart rate at home when you are completely calm. One good time to do it is when you wake up in the morning.

It is possible for both men and women to have an abnormally high heart rate and it can be of no concern if there are no other symptoms. If there are other symptoms, such treatments as calcium channel blockers and beta blockers can rectify the situation. In one of the newest techniques, a catheter ablation is used to modify the sinus node of the heart so that a pacemaker is not needed.

If you have a heart rate of over 100 BPM for a long period of time, get to your doctor so that tests can be done to make sure nothing is wrong with your heart. Because a high pulse rate can mean something is off, it is best not to ignore this symptom.