high pulse rate

Is High Pulse Rate Dangerous?

Your pulse rate measures how many times your heart beats per minute and is an indicator of your fitness. It keeps changing from time to time depending on your activities then what is normal and what is a high pulse rate ? The technical name for high pulse rate is tachycardia.

An athlete or any sports person knows when his pulse rate has to be slow and when it requires to be high to get the maximum output of his sporting activities. Even if you are not into sports, you still need to know about the pulse rate because high pulse rate can be dangerous.

So How high is considered high pulse rate?

To answer this, let us first understand how your pulse rate changes under different circumstances. When you are standing or sitting, walking or resting, working or sleeping, stressed or relaxed your heart rate is constantly changing from minute to minute depending on the level of activity. However, the only constant measure of heart rate can be taken when you are resting. That is why resting heart rate is always compared to knowing if it is normal, low or high.


A resting pulse rate between 60-100 is considered normal. Some medical practitioners consider 60-90 as normal. However, resting pulse rate above 100 is certainly considered a higher pulse rate. Under those high pulse rates you may feel dizzy, lose sense of balance, faint or even die.

So a constant reading of resting pulse rate above 100 is a warning sign and sooner than later you're going to get heart problems.

In various studies done on the comparison between normal and high pulse rate for decades and it was observed that the early death rates were higher for those whose resting pulse rates were high as compared to the others whose heart rate was normal. It was also observed that even if your heart rate is normal and you are fit and healthy, death can occur. But the important finding was that this death rate was almost doubled over a decade if you pulse rate is high pulse rate.

Symptoms of High Pulse Rate

When you have a high pulse rate, your heart is unable to send the blood effectively to all the areas of the body. As a result certain body tissues will not get enough blood and oxygen. This will cause the following symptoms

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting

In some people there may not be any symptoms, but the electrocardiogram will show the evidence of tachycardia.

What Causes High Pulse Rate?

When your resting pulse rate is higher than 90, you will not feel comfortable. You may begin to feel breathless, depressed and anxious. So one thing is sure that the high pulse rate for a long period can not go unnoticed.

Once you realize that the pulse rate may be higher, you can get it measured to confirm. Any blood pressure gauge can also give you the reading. You can also put two fingers of one hand on the wrist of the other hand's pulse and count the pulse and measure how many times it beats during 15 seconds. Multiply it by 4 times to get the reading. You can also measure it by putting your fingers on the side of neck or top of foot also. You just need to figure out where exactly is the pulsating blood vessel is.

But more important than the measurement of the pulse rate is to know why the pulse rate is high? Following are some of the common causes of high pulse rate.

  • Alcoholism
  • Anemia
  • Caffeine addiction
  • Congenital heart conditions and heart diseases
  • Damage to heart tissues
  • Diabetes
  • rugs abuse such as cocaine addiction
  • Exercise
  • Fever
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Medication side effects
  • Mineral Imbalance of electrolytes affecting electrical impulses
  • Overactive thyroid (Hyperthyroidism) or Underactive thyroid (Hypothyroidism)
  • Psychological stress or anxiety
  • Sleep apnea
  • Smoking

Some of these factors are in your control such as quitting smoking, caffeine and alcohol, but others may require to fix the underlying conditions before the pulse rate is controlled.

Treatment of High Pulse rate

You can learn to control high pulse rate at home by exercises, yoga, meditation and other stress management mechanism systems if there is no major underlying cause. However, your doctor in this case is the best judge to decide which options in your specific case are more suitable. The range of possible options is large ranging from vagal maneuvers, cardioversion, radiofrequency, catheter ablation , implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) and medications to surgery.

Earlier you realize that your heart rate is faster than normal and you begin to address it with simple home remedies better it is. If not then you must control it with the help of a doctor. Whichever way you go it is important to bring back the resting pulse rate to normal as the high pulse rate can be life threatening in the long run.