Heart arrhythmia can occur in different forms. Some people experience a slowed heart rate, while others have a fast beat. Tachycardia and bradycardia are two types of heart arrhythmia that many individuals suffer from. However, it can be confusing to differentiate between the two. So, what is the difference between tachycardia and bradycardia?
In simple terms, tachycardia refers to a fast heart rhythm, with a resting rate being greater than 100 beats. On the other hand, bradycardia is a slow heartbeat. People with bradycardia have less than 60 beats per minute. This is not where the differences end. Therefore, carry on reading to learn more about tachycardia vs. bradycardia.
Differences Between Tachycardia vs. Bradycardia
While both tachycardia and bradycardia are types of arrhythmia, many factors distinguish them. Here are a few ways you can separate the two:
Both tachycardia and bradycardia can further be divided into different types.
Some types of tachycardia include:
- Supraventricular tachycardia occurs when the heart signals in the upper chamber become distorted. You can divide it further into three types; atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, and paroxysmal atrial tachycardia.
- Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), in which abnormal electrical pathways of the heart cause rapid heartbeat. Ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation are two types of this condition.
- Sinus tachycardia occurs when the heart rate increases in response to factors such as stress and exercise.
Bradycardia occurs in the following types:
- Sinus bradycardia, which takes place when the heart rate drops below 60 beats in a minute.
- Sinus pause occurs when the heart’s natural pacemaker of the sinus node has impaired functioning.
- Sick sinus syndrome results when the sinus nodes that send signals are sick or scared.
- Heart block is caused by an obstruction in the conduction network.
Since they are different conditions, the symptoms of tachycardia and bradycardia are different as well.
If you suffer from tachycardia, you will experience the following:
- Heart beating rapidly
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
The symptoms of bradycardia, however, look like this:
- Poor concentration
- Shortness of breath
If you experience any of the symptoms above and suspect arrhythmia, get in contact with your healthcare provider right away.
Now that you are aware of the symptoms of both conditions, let us discuss how your heart specialist will treat them.
People of all ages, be it a child or an adult, can experience tachycardia. Although it is not a serious concern, tachycardia can trigger serious issues if you avoid treatment. After diagnosing the type and severity of your tachycardia with the help of an ECG, your healthcare provider will devise a treatment plan for you. It could include medications, pacemaker implants, or even heart surgery. Whatever is best for you, the professional will opt for it to manage your condition. Moreover, lifestyle changes can also help improve tachycardia.
When it comes to bradycardia can be a potentially dangerous condition if your heartbeats drop below 60 per minute. Hence, you can face organ failure and possible death because the heart is unable to pump sufficient amounts of oxygen-rich blood. Your healthcare provider will conduct a diagnosis via ECG, TMT, or a stress test. Then, they will choose a treatment that is most suitable for them. Implantation of a pacemaker, medication, and lifestyle changes are usually the treatments recommended for bradycardia.
What to Do?
Now that you know all the essential information on tachycardia vs bradycardia make sure to keep an eye out for the signs. If you do suspect either condition, contact our Atrial Fibrillation Centers of America team at (832) 478-5067 to schedule an appointment. You can also come to visit us at 13325 Hargrave Rd. Suite 280, Houston, TX 77070.