It is normal to have a slightly elevated heart rate after eating due to increased blood flow to the GI tract but 171 seems a bit high. There are many potential causes of tachycardia (fast heart beat) and they can be divided roughly into sinus (originating from the sinus node or heart's natural pacemaker) and non-sinus tachycardias. Nonsinus tachycardias are either supraventricular (coming from the upper chambers of the heart) or ventricular (coming from the lower chambers of the heart). Supraventricular tachycardias include: paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, atrial flutter, atrial fibrillation and AV nodal tachycardia. Ventricular tachycardias are more serious in nature and are due to a rapid depolarization of the ventricles.
Sinus tachycardia is defined as a heart rate of greater than 100 beats per minute originating from the sinus node. Sinus tachycardia is classified as either appropriate or inappropriate. There are many causes of appropriate sinus tachycardia such as exercise, anxiety, panic attacks, dehydration, deconditioning, volume loss due to bleeding or other loss of body fluids, hyperthyroidism, electrolyte abnormalities and many other conditions.
Inappropriate sinus tachycardia can only be diagnosed when all causes of appropriate sinus tachycardia have been ruled out. It is not clear what causes inappropriate sinus tachycardia but possible etiologies are an increase in the rate at which the sinus node depolarizes and an increased sensitivity to adrenaline. Once the diagnosis has been made by ruling out all of the potential causes of appropriate sinus tachycardia there are several treatment options. If the symptoms are not overly concerning no treatment needs to be done. There is no increase in morbidity or mortality in persons with this condition and they can expect to have a normal life-span. For persons in whom the symptoms are unbearable medications such as beta blockers or calcium channel blockers can be used, usually with good results. In the rare person unable to tolerate medical treatment catheter ablation (burning) of the sinus node with insertion of a pacemaker or surgical removal of the sinus node have been used in the past. Newer techniques are being developed using catheter ablation to modify and not destroy the sinus node thus avoiding the need for a pacemaker. This procedure is still in it's infancy and should only be undertaken at a major medical center after consultation with an electrophysiologist.
i have also experienced tachycardia after eating....anything. More commonly I experience PAC's or premature beats after eating. I havean't found a doctor yet who has any idea what causes it. I will say I have had all kinds of weird cardiac arrhythmias off and on since i was in my 20's. I also experience the tachycardia that wakes me at night (rates over 200) and the sudden tachycardia that comes on at any time for no reason, as well as exercise intolerance and overreaction to normal stresses, like Debbie who commented above. Sometimes I feel like the stress of this problem IS my stress, but I am told anxiety and stress are big contributing factors. The only thing I have found that helps prevent these episodes is completely changing your lifestyle, including your diet. See Back To The Garden Ministries online. I follow his diet plan and have had great success. I also take Magnesium supplements, which helped tremendously. Of course, you know to exercise regularly with your doctor's permission, which I myself have a hard time doing. Some days I feel like it, others, I can hardly walk to the bathroom. I also found a great deal I could relate to in researching a condition called dysautonomia. Research it and see what you think. My e-mail address is jjansentn.earthlink.net if you want to know more of what I have done and been told by doctors. It may or may not help. Debbie, if you read this, feel free to write, as well.
Well, its good to know Im not alone. I have been complaining about the same symptons for over a year now. My heart rate is also extremely fast after eating. Also, I too am awakened at night feeling anxious and then I get a racing heart. It feels like adrenaline is racing through my body. Also, exercising increases my heart rate very fast and it takes awhile for it to slow down. Im on Toprol XL, 50 mg. But my Cardiologist is leery of increasing the dosage. He says I dont need a higher dosage. And, to tell you the truth I dont want one because I can barely stay awake taking the 50mg.
Just to let you know you're not alone- I have experienced the same problem. I have noticed on this forum that everyone's story on tachycardia is individualized-what i mean is that there various causes of the tachycardia and everyone's symtoms vary a little bit. I can relate to several of the stories. Here is a short version of my story so you will understand: I have been having "tachycardia episodes" for 6yrs - I was 20 yrs old when they started and I am now 26. For me, my tachycardia usually comes out of the blue - I could be sitting someonewhere relaxed or not really doing much of anything and my heart will start to race. My heart rate is usually anywhere from 130's-160's and it usually lasts about 5-10 min. My next most common times for the episodes to occur are 2)Waking up out of a sound sleep feeling really nervous and my heart starts racing 3)When i'm extremely tired with not much sleep (I work 11-7 shift at the hospital) I'll wake up with an episode sometimes - What is so weird is when i wake up out of a sound sleep with the tachycardia it's usually always exactly 1hr after falling asleep 4)After eating- usually a heavy meal or a meal filled with sugars,alot of carbohydrates, or fats. Also i noticed that after drinking alcohol- like even with 2-3 drinks i experience tachycardia for a while afer 5)Starteled out of a sound sleep with the phone ringing - I know that it is normal to be starteled and your heart race but mine races 130'3-160's for about 5-10 min- it takes a while to slow down 6)When i exercise my heart rate picks up quickly and it takes longer to slow back down. 7)And of course when i get stressed out i'll go through a few episodes.
Well, i don't know if you have similar episodes or if yours only come after eating, but this will give you and idea of what i am experiencing. For a longer version of my story, i posted letters on Oct 14th and 15th.
Thanks for your comments.
Thanks for your comments.
A related discussion, tachicardia from stomach irritation