- Sinus tachycardia. This is when your heartbeat is still regular, but faster than it should be. It's normal in certain situations, such as during exercise or if you have a fever, but may also occur at other times for no obvious reason. Conditions such as an overactive thyroid gland or anaemia may cause sinus tachycardia. Although normal heart rate can reach 100 beats per minute (bpm) when you're at rest, you may feel some discomfort if the rate is faster than you're used to for a particular level of activity.
- Sinus bradycardia. This is when your heartbeat is still regular, but slower than usual (fewer than 60 bpm). Bradycardia is common in athletes but can also occur if you're exposed to the cold and have a low body temperature or are resting or sleeping. If your heart rate is extremely slow, you may feel dizzy or faint.
- Ectopic beats. These are extra heartbeats but they don't result in any blood being pumped from your heart. You feel an ectopic heartbeat as a missed beat and the next beat is then more powerful – you feel this as a thump. You may get ectopic beats every few beats or even every beat – this results in a slow, thumping rhythm (bigeminy). Ectopic beats are very common and rarely mean that you have a heart problem. They are most noticeable when you're resting.
- palpitations – an unpleasant awareness of your heartbeat, often described as a thumping in your chest
- tiredness – not being able to do as much physical activity as usual
- dizziness or fainting
- chest pain
- heart failure
- heart valve disease
- inflammation of your heart (myocarditis)
- thyroid disease
- high blood pressure
- a heart attack
- coronary heart disease
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome – an electrical abnormality in the heart that can cause SVT and atrial fibrillation
- fainting or collapsing
- chest pain
- blood tests
- an electrocardiogram (ECG) – this records the electrical activity of your heart to see how well it's working
- a 24-hour heart monitor (ambulatory ECG) – this records the electrical activity of your heart over 24 hours or longer
- an electrophysiological study – this determines if you have any extra electrical pathways in your heart that are causing an abnormal heart rhythm
- an echocardiogram – this uses ultrasound (sound waves) to look at your heart's structure, valves and pumping action
- an exercise ECG – this can check for other problems with your heart and may trigger abnormal heart rhythms
This information was published by Bupa Group's Health Content Team and has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals. To the best of their knowledge the information is current and based on reputable sources of medical evidence, however Bupa (Asia) Limited makes no representation or warranty as to the completeness or accuracy of the Content.
The information on this page, and any information on third party websites referred to on this page, is provided as a guide only. It should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical advice, nor is it intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. Bupa (Asia) Limited is not liable for any loss or damage you suffer arising out of the use of, or reliance on, the information.
Third party websites are not owned or controlled by Bupa and any individual may be able to access and post messages on them. Bupa is not responsible for the content or availability of these third party websites. Last updated August 2017.
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