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Heart Racing in Women

by
author image Gina Knutson
Gina Knutson began her freelance writing career in 2010. For several years, she worked as home editor/editorial assistant at "Prairie Farmer" magazine and served as a newsletter editor for several not-for-profit groups. Knutson graduated from Elmhurst College with a Bachelor of Arts in English.
Heart Racing in Women
A woman's heartbeat that is faster than normal can be caused by several conditions. Photo Credit Heartbeat image by JASON WINTER from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

A rapid heartbeat, or tachycardia, is a heart rate that is faster than what is considered normal. The Cleveland Clinic states that women, on average, tend to have a faster baseline heart rate than men. The difference in heart rates can be seen in girls as young as five years old. A heart rate over 100 beats per minute while at rest is considered tachycardia.

Normal Heart Rate For a Woman

The heart has a rhythm that is regulated by electrical signals which are sent across the tissues of the heart. When at rest, the normal heart rate for an adult woman is 60 to 100 beats a minute, according to Mayoclinic.com. A heart rate over 100 beats a minute should be discussed with your doctor.

Symptoms

Tachycardia can cause shortness of breath, rapid pulse rate, fainting, dizziness, lightheadedness, a tired feeling, and heart palpitations. Heart palpitations may include a racing heart, or an irregular heartbeat. Tachycardia can interfere with normal heart function, and may increase a person's risk for heart attack or stroke. For that reason, you should seek immediate medical care if you have shortness of breath, if you faint, or if you experience chest pain.

Reasons for Tachycardias

There are many reasons for why you can experience a rapid heartbeat. Consuming a lot of caffeine can cause a racing heartbeat. High blood pressure, smoking and overactive thyroid can also cause tachycardia. If heart disease damages your heart tissues, this can also cause a rapid heartbeat. Other reasons for tachycardia include drug abuse, electrolyte imbalance and congenital heart abnormality.

Rapid Heartbeat Due to Lack of Hormones

Hormones may have an effect on your heartbeat. The Cleveland Clinic reports that during perimenopause there is a decrease in the production of ovarian estrogen. This hormonal change is associated with an increase in heart rate. In menopause there is an even larger dip in the production of estrogen. Therefore, irregular heartbeats can be seen in women who are between 40 and 64 years of age.

Abnormal Heart Rhythm Conditions Seen More Often in Women

There are some abnormal heart rhythm conditions which are seen more often in women. They include: supraventricular tachycardia, which causes a rapid heart beat; and AV nodal re-entry tachycardia, which also involves tachycardia. Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS, is a condition that affects more women than men. People with this condition respond abnormally when they change body position. One of the symptoms of this condition includes an increased heart rate.

How Tachycardias are Diagnosed

Your doctor may be able to tell you the reason for your tachycardia based on the answers to the questions she will ask you. She may recommend some tests, such as an EKG, which is one of the first diagnostic tools used for tachycardia. Your doctor may also recommend you use a holter monitor or event monitor at home. These are portable EKG devices. A tilt table test may also be recommended if fainting is a problem.

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