Tachycardia is an accelerated heart rate – specifically it is classified as any heart rate that exceeds 100 beats per minute at its base level which puts it above the normal range. There are many causes of tachycardia such as poor circulation, high blood pressure/cholesterol, low potassium or arrhythmia. Symptoms include a ‘fluttering feeling in the chest’, difficulty catching your breath, irregular heartbeat, pain in the chest and light headedness. In serious cases doctors may put you on a course of medication (adenosine), or may recommend heart surgery (cardioversion). It is important to see a doctor if you experience the associated symptoms as severe tachycardia can be very dangerous and the symptoms may also suggest other heart conditions. However there are also many things you can do yourself to combat tachycardia and many natural remedies.
Note: Bear in mind that the normal heart rate is faster in young children – 100 is the highest normal-range for adults over 15 years of age but up to 130 is normal for most children and not considered tachycardia. See your doctor if you are uncertain.
Avoid Stimulants: The last thing you want if you have an elevated heart rate are stimulants which cause your heart to pump faster still by speeding up your metabolism and releasing adrenaline. That means no caffeinated tea or coffee, no soda drinks or energy boosters and checking all of your medication and supplements.
Consume Potassium: Low potassium levels are one cause of tachycardia, so if you suspect you are not getting enough in your diet then try to get more or take a supplement such as a multivitamin and mineral tablet. Natural food sources of potassium are bananas, potatoes, whole grains and vegetables.
Meditate: Meditation is the ability to control your thoughts and your bodily functions by concentrating on them and taking time out to be calm. By learning to relax you can slow down your heart rate and this is a great way to combat bouts of tachycardia. Try finding a quiet place and sitting with your legs crossed and let your thoughts wonder or focus on a mantra.
Avoid Anxiety: Anxiety also causes a release of adrenaline and creates the same stress response you might feel if you were getting chased by a lion in the wild. As such it is important to not only learn to manage stress, but also avoid it where possible.
Eat Lots of Fibre: If your tachycardia is a result of high blood pressure or any circulatory system related problems, then you should try to increase the amount of fibre in your diet. This passes through your system and removes fatty deposits called ‘arterial plaque’ in your arteries which are the cause of cholesterol and a contributor to high blood pressure. You should also drink plenty of water and avoid consuming too many saturated fats.
Exercise: Exercising with light CV work can help to solve many heart related problems by strengthening it through training. It is important to avoid overdoing this right away of course as it may put you at risk of heart attack. Instead gently increase the amount of aerobic exercise you do under the guidance of a physician who knows your condition.
Use Biofeedback: Biofeedback is any process in which you are given data regarding your physical state. This can mean a blood pressure reading, a weight reading or, in this case, a heart rate. By wearing a watch that records your heart rate you can then observe the things that cause it to increase and that cause tachycardia and can also get prior warning that your heart rate has risen dangerously high. It can act as feedback to encourage successful meditation and by using it regularly you can learn the techniques that work for you in slowing down your heart.