heart rate

Anxiety? Caffeine? More serious?

Running the last few minutes of a race, preparing for a major presentation, or watching “Stranger Things” in the dark may make your heart race. Daily living shouldn’t raise your heart rate. Your heart’s rhythm is controlled by a finely calibrated mechanism. It’s natural to worry when your heart rate suddenly speeds up.

First, How Do Experts Typically Define A “Healthy” Heart Rate?

According to the US National Library of Medicine, most individuals have a “normal” resting heart rate of 60–100 beats per minute. Your heart pumps oxygen-rich blood to important organs at these speeds. Runners may have lower resting heart rates (sometimes as low as 40 beats per minute). 

According to the Mayo Clinic, cardiovascular activity helps your heart pump more blood at a slower pace. A resting heart rate of 100 or less (if you’re not an athlete) may indicate a health concern.

What Are The Most Common Causes Of A Fast Heart Rate?

Feeling Very Stressed

Let’s face it—you’re probably stressed with everything going on around the globe. Camille Frazier-Mills, MD, a Duke Electrophysiology Clinic cardiologist, tells SELF that stress releases adrenaline or norepinephrine. This trigger increases heart rate through cardiac receptors. 

Deep breathing exercises might help you feel better in the present if you can’t quickly remedy what’s stressing you. The Mayo Clinic recommends inhaling and exhaling through your nose to feel your stomach rise instead of your chest. Focus on your breath and the abdominal rise and fall throughout. 

RELATED: Are Heart Rate and Blood Pressure the Same? No, Here’s Why.

Had A Lot Of Caffeine

Overdoing caffeine might raise your heart rate. “Several patients come to see me with a raised heart rate, then they tell me they consume many highly caffeinated drinks daily,” Dr. Mills-Frazier explains. “They’re revving.” If you’re caffeine-sensitive, even modest doses may cause this.

According to the FDA, adults may safely consume 400 mg of caffeine per day or four to five cups of coffee. Since caffeine sensitivity and metabolism vary, it may seem like a lot. Pregnancy and several drugs might make you more sensitive to caffeine. If you want to avoid caffeine withdrawal symptoms, consider cutting down on caffeine gradually to see if it slows your heart rate. If that fails, call your doctor.


A 2015 Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics research found that smokers—tobacco, cannabis, and marijuana—have greater resting heart rates than nonsmokers. Smoking may raise heart rate and cause cardiovascular issues, including heart attacks, but experts don’t know why.

Cold- Or Flu-Like Symptoms, Like A Fever

If you have a fever, coughing, and sneezing, a viral disease may be the cause of your racing heart. Dr. Mills-Frazier believes your heart beats quicker to battle illness and maintain equilibrium.

Taking Some Kind Of Medication That Affects Your Heart

Decongestants aren’t the only drugs that can keep your heart rate up. Dr. Doshi explains that several drugs

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