“My heart is racing”, “I can hear my heart”, “I think I have palpitations”. These are all statements from people that have experienced fast heart rate.
Heart rate is nothing more than a number of heart beats per minute. And although quite a lot of us know how to test it, to a majority the pulse remains a meaningless number.
Why would I have a fast heart rate?
Why should anyone care about this third number on a blood pressure monitor? Even doctors seldom comment on it. However, the heart rate can tell you a lot, and definitely its acceleration is not what you want to see unless exercising.
Pulse goes up and down in response to oxygen demands. Heart pumping faster can obviously deliver more oxygen. So it is normal and desirable that the pulse goes up with physical exertion.
Unfortunately, in some people the heart rate will also go up after a quarrel with mother-in-law, regardless of the level of physical demands during the confrontation. The pulse will also go up during vigorous cheering of your favorite hockey team, as well as before a math exam (that I guarantee). Excitement is a part of life, so is a fast heart rate… but it is healthy only if it happens on the right occasion.
Chronic stress speeds up the heart rate
Unfortunately a lot of us experience near constant excitement at work or home. Just mentioning a few words like deadline, budget, taxes may accelerate your pulse already . Go ahead, check your pulse now. Not high? How about we add: wife, kids, mother-in-law, teenage son, ex-husband. How is your pulse now?
You see? It is very easy to get excited. So, what’s my point? Ok, here it is, stress is bad for you. I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, so let me explain why.
Chronic stress equals more health problems
Excitement or stress produces a neurotransmitter called epinephrine, which changes how our cells react to glucose. People who are under constant stress are more prone to diabetes. In fact, epinephrine is considered diabetogenic (causing diabetes).
The more you stay under stress the more you will edge towards diabetes. The math is simple. Choose your excitements wisely. If you catch yourself carrying a pulse over 80 beats per minute regularly you most likely are chronically stressed out, and you need to make some changes, lower your stress level.
A side note:
Some medication artificially lower the pulse, so if you are on medication the numbers may be meaningless. An accelerated pulse does not need to come from stress. A heart condition can also change the heart rhythm.
Any further suggestions how to beat stress? Leave us a comment.