Causes of Sinus Tachycardia: The Common and Little Known Factors

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Sinus Tachycardia Overview

To fully understand the causes of sinus tachycardia, the patient first must understand what this condition is. Sinus tachycardia is when the heart rhythm exceeds normal limits for the individual. While this number is generally over 100 beats per minute, this will vary by the person’s age, as infants and children normally have a heart rhythm above 100. This is due to an increase in the electrical impulses of the SA node within the heart, which can be affected by several different factors.

Common Sinus Tachycardia Causes

Some of the most common causes of this condition are related to normal physiological reactions. For example, this phenomenon is quite normal and can be expected while an individual is exercising. Other reasons may include stress, anger and what is known as the fight or flight response. However, normal everyday stressors and anger may not play a significant role. Rather the duration and severity, when increased will also cause the heart to increase in rhythm. The flight or fight response, or the survival mode is the body’s reaction to immediate danger which causes a racing heart.

Role of Lifestyle Choices

Sinus tachycardia may also be a result of some lifestyle practices. As previously mentioned, exercise and stress can elevate the heart rate, but these aren’t the only factors. Anxiety, medications, both by prescription and over the counter and naturally occurring stimulants can be responsible for an increased sinus rhythm. Some prescription diet drugs and sources of caffeine, such as tea and coffee is an example of this. Those that abuse illicit drugs known as uppers may also frequently suffer from this condition, as will those that use tobacco products.

Medical Conditions That May Be Responsible

There are a variety of disease states and conditions that may cause sinus tachycardia, including the seemingly minor fever. However, there are also more serious conditions that may be to blame. This can include but is not limited to heart attack, heart failure, pulmonary embolism and chronic pulmonary disease. Other conditions are hypoxia, anemia, hypotension and hyperthyroidism. The patient should keep in mind though; these are only a few of the causative factors of sinus tachycardia.

Other Considerations

These are just some of the causes of sinus tachycardia. In many cases, one sole factor may not be to blame. Rather, there may be a variety of different reasons and more than one cause. Although causes related to lifestyle can often be prevented or eliminated, the individual should still seek medical attention to rule out any potential underlying health conditions. When the condition is a result of a disease or disorder of the body, tachycardia may be effectively managed by treating the particular medical problem.


Palpitations Symptoms, Causes and Treatments. Medicine Net. 1998-2010. Viewed 28, December 2010.

Sinus Tachycardia. Up to Date. Updated 3, November 2009. Viewed 28, December 2010.