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The cause of an extremely rapid heartbeat, or tachycardia, can be any of the following disorders.

Panic Attack

A panic attack is a form of anxiety disorder, in which an individual experiences episodes of extreme and intense panic and fear.

Any disturbances or changes in their usual routine can trigger these feelings.

People experiencing a panic attack often feel as if they are suffocating or having a heart attack. Common symptoms include chest pains, heavy breathing, dizziness and palpitations, the latter described as rapid or irregular heartbeats.

Heart Disease

Broadly speaking, heart disease includes a variety of conditions. They include ailments such as blood vessel diseases (coronary artery disease, angina that may lead to a heart attack), arrhythmias (problems with heart rhythms) and congenital heart defects (defects by birth).

Other conditions include those that affect the muscles and valves of the heart.

The symptoms of heart disease depend mainly on the type of disease. The causes of a sudden and extremely rapid heartbeat are arrhythmias, or irregular and abnormal heartbeats. Other symptoms include a fluttering feeling in the chest, chest pain, breathlessness and dizziness.


Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have, or cannot produce, a sufficient number of red blood cells. This compromises the ability of the person to supply adequate amounts of oxygen to the tissues and cells of the body. There are various types of anemia, each having its own distinct cause.

The symptoms of anemia, like their causes, vary. Apart from feeling extremely weak and fatigued, common symptoms include paleness of skin, chest pain, shortness of breath and a rapid or irregular heartbeat.

Thyroid Disease

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the lower front of the neck. Hormones secreted by this gland are vital in regulating various metabolic processes of the body. These include maintaining the basal metabolic rate as well as the heart rate.

Diseases affecting the thyroid gland can alter both the structure and function of the gland.

If the gland becomes overactive and starts secreting excessive amounts of hormones, a condition known as hyperthyroidism occurs. Symptoms include sleep disturbances, hand tremors and rapid irregular heartbeats.

Side Effects Of Certain Medication

Although prescription drugs undergo stringent clinical trials and testing, their use still results in a number of side effects. Some side effects specifically related to the heart are tachycardia, irregular heartbeats, cardiomyopathy, heart attacks and even congestive heart failure. However, it should be noted that these side effects differ from person to person, and are often the result of the prolonged use of a particular drug.

It is very difficult to predict the exact cause of tachycardia without performing any tests.

Rapid heartbeat is associated with several disorders including circulation disorders, gastrointestinal tract disorders, pulmonary disorders, endocrine disorders, and even psychiatric disorders. If you experience tachycardia very often, it is recommended that you see a doctor for a complete physical examination. Based on history and physical examination findings, the physician may advise lab tests that help determine the exact cause.

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