High heart rate at rest


The heart rate increases physiologically with increased activity, sporting activities or with acute excitement. An increased heart rate at rest can be physiological in certain situations, but it can also indicate illnesses, stressful situations, hormonal fluctuations and numerous other causes. However, a pulse that is increased only briefly has no disease value, but a long-term increased pulse should be clarified by a doctor in order to avoid potential rare dangers and complications.


The causes of an increased heart rate at rest are numerous. In most cases, there are harmless, temporary causes such as recent physical activity, a brief excitement, a period of stress or the consumption of certain stimulants. Even previously unnoticed, harmless illnesses such as allergies, colds and the flu can raise the body's level of activity and make the pulse beat faster. These are reversible and temporary causes of the increased heart rate.

Furthermore, hormonal changes and diseases can be behind it, some of which can be reversible and some of them permanent. Typically, pregnancy, menopause or an overactive thyroid can lead to increased activity with an increase in heart rate. A medical diagnosis is advisable so that therapy can be initiated if necessary.

More rarely, the cause can also lie in the cardiovascular system itself. In addition to cardiac arrhythmias and diseases of the cardiac conduction system, more severe diseases such as shock situations, heart attacks, anaphylactic reactions, severe blood loss or heart attacks and embolisms of the lungs can lead to sudden racing heartbeats.

Read more on the subject at: Increased pulse- When is a pulse too high?


The thyroid produces the vital thyroid hormones, which can influence the nervous system, the cardiovascular system, the psyche and numerous other organ functions. An overactive thyroid can occur in a number of ways. A common cause is the autoimmune disease Graves' disease. So-called “autonomies”, incorrectly switched areas in the thyroid gland, can also produce excessive amounts of thyroid hormones. As a result, the neck can visibly swell, restlessness, sweating, tremors, hair loss, sleep problems, weight loss and diarrhea can occur.

Read more on the topic: Graves disease

Typically, high blood pressure and rapid heartbeat also occur with severe hyperthyroidism. The therapy can take place with drugs or surgically. It is not uncommon for the overactive to develop due to an excessive intake of thyroid hormones as part of the therapy for hypothyroidism.

Find out more about the topic: Hyperthyroidism


A very common cause of an increased heart rate at rest, which can sometimes be accompanied by unexpected consequences, is stress. Stress can manifest itself physically and mentally and develop over a long period of time. In the long term, hormonal problems and physical manifestations can develop that are similar to those of an overactive thyroid.
Restlessness, tremors, sleep problems, sweats and a racing heart are typical. Stress is a serious illness that sometimes needs to be treated professionally. The treatment focuses on avoiding stress immediately.

This article might also interest you: Racing heart caused by stress

High blood pressure

High blood pressure is often associated with an increased heart rate. Both symptoms can be due to an activation of the cardiovascular system, which can be based on acute causes such as stress, exercise and acute diseases of the heart or long-term hormonal changes.

In general, values ​​of 140/90 or more are referred to as increased blood pressure. The values ​​should be measured and controlled over the long term. If symptoms persist for a long time, therapy must be initiated, as increased blood pressure over the years can lead to serious consequential damage to the vascular system in some organs.

Read more on the topic: high blood pressure


Caffeine is a stimulating agent that can be found in various luxury foods. It is consumed by numerous people every day in order to stimulate the circulation and to make the consumers more alert and efficient. Caffeine is typically found in coffee, energy drinks, cola and various types of tea. Caffeine primarily affects the cardiovascular system and, in addition to an increased pulse, leads to increased blood pressure, stress and restlessness. Frequent caffeine consumption can lead to symptoms of stress and sleep problems.

More information can be found at Circulatory problems after coffee.


The stimulant nicotine, which is mainly consumed through cigarettes, can have different effects on the cardiovascular and vascular system. In low doses, it can lead to a release of adrenaline, which activates the cardiovascular system. This can lead to an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, as well as promoting stress and restlessness.
Only in higher doses does it have a calming effect on the nervous system. In the long term, cigarette consumption in particular causes severe consequential damage to blood vessels, heart and lungs as well as numerous other organs.


Alcohol consumption has various influences on the nervous system and cardiovascular function. In the short term, alcohol can widen the blood vessels and even lower blood pressure. The heart rate may increase in response to this. The increased activity under the influence of alcohol can also promote a high pulse.
Alcohol also has a diuretic effect on the kidneys, which can lead to dehydration, which also increases the heart rate. In addition to these acute physical reactions, chronic damage to some organs can occur in the long term due to increased alcohol consumption.

Find out more about the topic: Palpitations after drinking alcohol- is that dangerous?


Pregnancy can lead to increased blood pressure and heart rate. Initially, this is not a disease, but a physiological adaptation reaction of the body to the increased nutrient and oxygen requirements of the mother's and child's body. During pregnancy, the heart rate can physiologically deviate from the normal value by up to 10-20 beats per minute.

Diagnostically, however, it is important to distinguish it from actual illnesses and abnormal pulse increases. In addition to pregnancy, dangerous causes can also be responsible for the increased heart rate. If you have other symptoms such as bleeding, severe increases in blood pressure or pain in the abdomen and chest, you should see your gynecologist immediately.

Read more on the topic: Increased pulse during pregnancy

When is a high resting heart rate dangerous?

An increased heart rate is a very unspecific symptom and can have both harmless and serious causes. In the resting state, the circulation and thus the pulse are reduced physiologically. If the pulse is increased in this condition, further clarification of the possible causes should be carried out. In most cases, an increased heart rate can also be traced back to harmless causes such as caffeine consumption, mild stress, mild colds or other accompanying circumstances that activate the circulation.

In rare cases, however, dangerous diseases of the cardiovascular system, hormonal disorders or acute complications from infections or allergies can also be behind the increased heart rate. In these cases, the increased heart rate is often a symptom that indicates that the body is fighting against the diseases and is trying to ensure adequate circulation.


The diagnosis can usually be made with the help of a brief questioning and examination of the patient. Often those affected notice a racing heart and possibly other accompanying symptoms. The high pulse can be determined with the help of a simple pulse measurement.
Furthermore, a long-term EKG measurement can determine the pulse frequency over a period of 24 hours and, if necessary, reveal any cardiac arrhythmias for further diagnosis. Numerous other diagnostic procedures can follow to determine the causes of the high pulse. In order to narrow down the diagnosis, the possible causes can already be narrowed down with the help of a survey and physical examination.

Further information on the subject can be found at: Long-term ECG

Concomitant symptoms

In most cases, those affected notice the increased heart rate from various accompanying symptoms. The increased pulse can be felt as palpitations or palpitations. Furthermore, nervousness, sleep problems, excitement, headaches, dizziness and cold sweat can occur.
Depending on the cause of the increased heart rate, specific symptoms of the underlying disease will follow. For example, stress can be associated with difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, dizziness, diarrhea, or heartburn. Acute diseases of the cardiovascular system can manifest themselves as severe chest pain, dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath and cold sweating.


Dizziness is a non-specific symptom which, in combination with a high pulse, can indicate various diseases. There are different types of dizziness that can have different causes. Sudden vertigo can indicate diseases of the inner ear, whereas vertigo can have psychological causes such as stress. A slight permanent vertigo in combination with an increased heart rate can be caused by a disease of the cardiovascular system such as anemia, a cardiac arrhythmia or other disturbances in the blood flow.

In the event of acute dizziness, immediate rest and rest should be observed. In many cases it already helps to drink water and put your legs up to reduce dizziness. If there is also an acute weakness with a feeling of fainting, these can be acute warning symptoms of a threatening occurrence in the cardiovascular system.

This article might also interest you: Dizziness and racing heart

Cold perspiration

Cold perspiration is a symptom that occurs in the paradoxical situation of perspiration when the skin is cold at the same time. This occurs when the body is exposed to severe stress and blood flow to the body is not fully guaranteed. Particularly in the case of acute diseases of the cardiovascular system, such as a heart attack, pulmonary embolism, aortic dissection or a so-called "shock", cold sweat and an increased pulse are typical symptoms that can occur together.
In shock, for example, there is a lack of blood volume in the blood vessels, which can have various causes. By definition, a shock is associated with a high pulse and low blood pressure.


The treatment of the high pulse at rest depends largely on the cause of the symptom. In many cases there are temporary stressful phases with increased activity that subside by themselves and do not require treatment. If the heart rate remains high, the first steps to take are to remain calm, avoid stress, eat balanced food, exercise regularly and avoid various stimulants.

All of this leads to a reduction and stabilization of the pulse in the long term. Avoiding stress, nicotine and caffeine are in the foreground. If other diseases such as hormonal disorders or diseases of the cardiac conduction system are behind the increased pulse, drug therapies may have to be initiated, and less often surgical treatments.

Read more on the subject below Treatment of palpitations.


The duration of the high pulse can vary greatly with the underlying cause and can also be decisive for the diagnosis. In most cases, if the stress or increased activity subsides, a high pulse will subside on its own within a short time. Hormonal disorders such as an overactive thyroid can cause a permanent increase in heart rate, which only subsides when the therapy is started.
Cardiovascular diseases can also result in a permanently high pulse. Cardiac arrhythmias can recur, disappear in between or persist over the long term.

Also read the article on the topic: Cardiac arrhythmia

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