Many things can cause a rapid or fast heart rate. Most causes are benign. However, a recurrent rapid heart rate, called tachycardia, should be evaluated by a physician to rule out any potentially dangerous causes. People can try several home remedies to ease a quick heart rate. Some remedies involve regular lifestyle changes that may require a bit of effort. The best remedy is prevention.
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Stress, both physical and emotional, raises the heart rate. Anger and fear trigger the release of hormones, which increases the heart rate to ready a person to confront the thing that is causing the stress. Most stress today is psychological.
Changing a person’s response to stress requires significant and permanent lifestyle changes. According to Donna D. Ignatavicius, MS, RN, and M. Linda Workman, PhD, authors of the 2006 edition of “Medical-Surgical Nursing: Critical Thinking for Collaborative Care,” allowing more time in the day to reach destinations and complete projects, exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet and participating in hobbies can help reduce stress. Incorporate balance into daily routines to better cope with life stressors. This may help decrease the physical effects of stress, such as a rapid heart rate.
Fatigue raises the heart rate. When a person does not get enough rest, the heart rate increases to respond to the body’s need for more energy. Getting adequate sleep at night and taking breaks during the day are simple home remedies to ease a quick heart rate.
Deep Breath and Cough
To slow a racing heart, The American Heart Association suggests vagal maneuvers such as taking a deep breath and bearing down or coughing. However, a person who experiences weakness, shortness of breath or palpitations with a fast heart rate should seek medical care.
Caffeine is a stimulant. Although considered harmless by most people, caffeine can trigger a rapid heart rate. A home remedy to ease a quick heart rate is eliminating or reducing caffeine. Coffee, chocolate, many sodas and some over-the-counter medications contain caffeine.
The MayoClinic.com advises people check eye, nose and allergy medicines for stimulants like phenylephrine hydrochloride. These agents increase heart rate. Illegal street drugs contain stimulants that cause tachycardia. To ease a quick heart rate, do not take, or stop taking, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamines.
Dehydration causes tachycardia. Drink the recommended 8 fluid ounces of water daily to prevent dehydration. When experiencing a quick heart rate, try a glass of water.
Heat raises the heart rate. A person who is exposed to hot temperatures and experiencing a rapid heart rate should drink water, stay in the shade, wear light clothes, and when possible, stay in the hot environment for only a brief period of time.
- “Medical-Surgical Nursing - Critical Thinking for Collaborative Care”; Donna D. Ignatavicius MS RN, & M. Linda Workman Ph.D.; 2006
- American Heart Association: Living With Arrhythmias
- The Mayo Clinic: Tachycardia- -Prevention