Do you know what anxiety tachycardia is? It is a symptom of some anxiety disorders (or simply anxiety), a consequence of anxiety..
It consists of the acceleration of the heart rate, that is, the number of times our heart beats per minute (being in tachycardia more than 100).
In this article we tell you all the details: what it consists of, why it occurs, whether it is serious or not, etc. In addition, we also give you some tips on how to prevent or treat it.
- Recommended article: “The 5 types of anxiety (what causes them, and symptoms)”.
Anxiety tachycardia, a type of arrhythmia: what is it?
Before explaining why tachycardia occurs, and whether it can become serious, let us explain what anxiety tachycardia consists of. Tachycardia itself is a heart rhythm disorder, where the heart beats abnormally fast at rest. It is one of the most common heart rhythm disorders (also called arrhythmia).
Arrhythmias in particular are disorders of the heart rate or rhythm of the heart.They can broadly be of three types: tachycardias (when the heart beats excessively fast), bradycardias (when it beats too slowly) and disorders in which the heart beats irregularly.
Thus, in this article we will discuss one type of arrhythmia: anxiety tachycardia.
In anxiety tachycardia, as its name suggests, the origin lies in anxiety. That is to say, the fact that we are anxious gives rise to tachycardia.. In this type of disorder, the heart beats abnormally fast in the upper chambers, in the lower chambers or in both, at rest.
What does it mean at rest? That we are neither exercising nor in a state of excessive stress; that is, we are not doing “anything” in particular (or if we are doing it, it is something that requires little effort). We can also be sitting or standing (but calm).
This would be the general definition of tachycardia, but when we speak of anxiety tachycardia, this acceleration of the heart appears in the context of an anxiety disorder or anxiety symptoms (even if they do not constitute a disorder). Thus, we can be “at rest” but have elevated anxiety.
Why does it occur?
Why does anxiety tachycardia occur? As we have already mentioned, and as its name indicates, it occurs as a consequence of going through a period of anxiety; this symptom “coexists” with other types of symptoms, such as: irritability, tension, dizziness, migraines, suffocation, sweating, nausea, etc.
We should add that tachycardia in general, and anxiety tachycardia in particular, do not appear as a consequence of trauma or disease (in the latter case we would speak of sinus tachycardia).
But how does tachycardia due to anxiety occur? how does anxiety tachycardia actually occur? Let us go to the origin. We know that the tissues of the heart send out a series of electrical signals; these signals control our heart rate. But what happens in tachycardia?
In tachycardia, an abnormality occurs in the heart, and rapid electrical signals are produced, accelerating the heart rate. To get an idea: generally, the heart beats between 60 and 100 beats per minute (at rest); in tachycardia, the beats per minute are 100 or more.
Thus, in anxiety tachycardia, these abnormalities in the electrical signals occur as a result of the anxiety itself. Recall that anxiety is a psychophysiological alteration of the organism, which involves a series of cognitive, emotional and physiological symptoms (as in the case of anxiety tachycardia). In other words, it is one of the symptoms of anxiety itself.
If we go a little further (more to the origin), we find that anxiety is caused by a thousand different factors, always depending on the situation and the person. In anxiety, what always happens is that body and mind do not have sufficient resources to cope with the demands and demands of the environment.
This insufficiency of resources is usually temporary, although anxiety can last from minutes, through hours and days to months (always depending on its cause and treatment).
Is it serious?
Is it serious to have tachycardia due to anxiety? (Or tachycardia). It depends on the case. An anxiety tachycardia can simply be part of the symptoms of anxiety (or of an anxiety disorder), or it can also indicate the proximity of an anxiety crisis.
That is why we must be alert and, in case of anxiety tachycardia (especially if it is a recurrent symptom and / or lasting in time), go to a doctor.
It is also advisable, just at the moment of noticing this symptom, find a quiet place to sit, practice deep and controlled breathing, keep calming thoughts, etc., etc.etc. In other words, try to relax in order to slow down our heart rate so that it does not trigger an anxiety crisis.
However, it is true that in general, tachycardia due to anxiety is not a serious symptom; our body simply warns us that we are accelerated, and that we need to rest or “slow down” in our daily life.
How to avoid/treat anxiety tachycardia?
Logically, to avoid or treat tachycardia due to anxiety, we must go to the “focus” or origin of the problem: the anxiety itself.
We must be aware that, if we have anxiety (and we already suffer from this symptom), the tachycardia will not disappear by itself. That is to say, we will have to treat the root problem, which is anxiety.. For this we can choose different options in order to treat anxiety.
1. Going to therapy or asking for help
A professional psychologist can help us to reduce our anxiety levels through different psychological techniques. Some of the most commonly used techniques are: controlled breathing exercises, relaxation exercises, etc. The therapy can be combined with sports, yoga, etc.
2. Apply breathing techniques
Deep and controlled breathing techniques will help us to become aware of our breathing, which is closely linked to the acceleration of the heart rate. If we learn to control our breathing and reduce its rhythm, it is very likely that our heart rate will also be reduced.
The breaths we take should be deep (both inhalations and exhalations, although it also depends on the program).
3. Take magnesium
Magnesium is considered a good regulator of our heart rate. That is why if we increase its presence in our diet, we will also be helping the tachycardia due to anxiety to disappear.
4. Avoid caffeine (or reduce its consumption)
Caffeine (present in some soft drinks, coffee, etc.) is a stimulant; that is why if we reduce its consumption (or even avoid it), we will be helping our heart to beat more normally.