What are the Most Common Causes of an Increased Heart Rate?

Alex Tree

Many activities, conditions, and states can result in the increase of a person’s heart rate. An everyday activity such as engaging in physical exercise can bring up a person’s heart rate, but so can terrifying fear or a panic attack. Commonly consumed recreational drugs, such as caffeine consumed in coffee or nicotine in tobacco products, can also result in a significant increase in heart rate. Though many possible reasons for an increase in heart rate do not sound particularly threatening, some can be fatal. Heart attacks as well as dangerous heart conditions such as cardiomyopathy and cardiac tamponade have also been linked to an increase in heart rate.

Exercise raises the heart rate.
Exercise raises the heart rate.

Engaging in physical exercise affects the human body in many quantifiable ways, and one such way is increasing the heart rate. In the context of exercise, increased heart rate is normal, but can range from healthy to unhealthy levels that depend on other factors. Other effects of physical exercise include an increase of oxygen and blood flow to the brain and positive effects on the immune system.

There are many things that can increase heart rate.
There are many things that can increase heart rate.

Often, emotional states can affect the human body in tangible ways. For example, anxiety can result in an increased heart rate, as well as side effects such as increased blood flow to muscles, chest pain, and heart palpitations. Fear, the occurrence of a panic attack, and other stressful emotional states are also often linked to an increased heart rate. Often, the reason for this is that the human body is engaging in a fight-or-flight response and is increasing blood flow for this purpose.

Anxiety can increase heart rate.
Anxiety can increase heart rate.

Quite a few nonprescription and prescription drugs, as well as both common legal and illegal drugs, can cause an increased heart rate. For example, nicotine, a drug commonly found in tobacco products, can result in increased heart rate as well as other symptoms, such as increased or decreased blood pressure. Another commonly consumed drug, caffeine, can cause an increased heart rate as well as other negative side effects, such as blurred vision and diarrhea.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a heart condition where the walls of the heart have become thickened, making it difficult for the heart to pump efficiently.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a heart condition where the walls of the heart have become thickened, making it difficult for the heart to pump efficiently.

Many abnormal heart conditions have been linked to increased heart rate. Both an ongoing heart attack as well as a past heart attack can increase a person’s heart rate. The heart disease cardiomyopathy can also result in an increase of heart rate. Another dangerous heart condition that can result in an increased heart rate and ultimately death if it is not treated successfully is called cardiac tamponade. This condition involves an increase of fluid in a certain part of the heart, hindering the effectiveness of the heart’s pumping.

Many abnormal heart conditions have been linked to increased heart rate.
Many abnormal heart conditions have been linked to increased heart rate.
Frequent consumption of caffeine in coffee and nicotine in tobacco products can cause an increased heart rate.
Frequent consumption of caffeine in coffee and nicotine in tobacco products can cause an increased heart rate.

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