When Is Your Heart Rate Considered Dangerous?

It may seem like your heart is beating with regularity throughout the day unless you are exercising, but that's not true. Your heart rate will go up and down as you go about your day. Doing something as simple as climbing a single flight of stairs will increase your heart rate, explains Harvard Health Publishing. Your heart beats faster and slower as the body's need for oxygen increases or decreases. Lying on your couch watching TV? You're probably using less oxygen and have a low heart rate. Doing sprints on the track? You're gasping for air and your heart rate is probably very high.

There are ranges of what is considered a healthy resting heart rate or a healthy active heart rate. However, this depends on many factors like sex and age. For example, the average resting heart rate for most adults is 60 to 100 beats per minute (bpm). And while exercising, a healthy maximum heart rate is 200 bpm, according to the American Heart Association.

Of course, your heart rate can become too high which is considered dangerous.

Too fast of a heart rate is called tachycardia

First of all, it's important to understand that not every instance of a high heart rate should be considered dangerous. If you experience a single episode of your heart rate going higher while just laying on the couch, it probably isn't cause for alarm, explains Healthline.

However, if this is happening consistently, whether you're exercising or not, this is called tachycardia. There are different types of tachycardia and what is considered too fast of a heart rate depends on your age and health (via Healthline).

You may consider seeing a doctor if your heart rate is too high for your current activity, according to Mayo Clinic. For example, if your heart rate is above 100 while just lying on the couch, you may want to seek medical attention. Your heart rate may also be normal in one moment, but spike after only a short time of exercise.

In general, the symptoms of tachycardia include rapid pulse rate, shortness of breath, chest pain, and a racing and pounding heartbeat (via Mayo Clinic).