What Might Be Causing a High or Low Heart Rate

September is AFib Awareness Month, and at Fitbit, we’re helping you to learn more through content that focuses on all things heart health throughout the month. Click here for more blog posts in the series.

Your heart rate, or pulse, is the number of times your heart beats per minute (bpm). If you’re like most adults, your resting heart rate falls between 60 and 100 bpm. 

Your heart rate can be affected by factors such as stress, anxiety, emotions, hormones, medications you may be taking and how physically active you are.

Some variation is normal. But if your heart rate while you’re inactive routinely falls below or above your normal range, you may have either a low heart rate (bradycardia) or a high heart rate (tachycardia). 

Causes of a low heart rate

• Old age

• Extreme physical conditioning, like that of athletes

• Electrical problems in the heart

• Metabolic problems, such as hypothyroidism

• Physical damage to the heart

• Certain heart medications, such as beta blockers

Causes of a high heart rate

• Anxiety

• Sudden stress, such as fear

• Fever

• Emotional distress

• Recreational stimulants

• Electrical problems in the heart

Other, less common causes that affect heart rate include:

• Anemia

• Increased thyroid activity

• Heart muscle damage

Your heart rate when you’re at rest offers a glimpse into your heart health. If you are concerned about a low or high heart rate, consult with your health care provider. 

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