Sudden Increase in Blood Pressure and Heart Rate

Both blood pressure and heart rate are important variables to keep your heart work effectively. Therefore, it’s important to have normal levels of both variables. Normal blood pressure is about 120/80 mm Hg (120 is systolic pressure and 80 is diastolic pressure). And for the heart rate, about 60 to 100 beats per minutes when you are at rest. Sudden increase in both variables can be caused by several factors – from lifestyle factors to the side effect of using certain medication.

Does increased heart rate increase blood pressure?

Heart rate is the rate of how many beats that your heart makes per minute. Increased heart rate problem is medically called as ‘tachycardia’.

It’s clear that both increased and decreased heart rate higher /lower than its normal levels can be bad for the health of your heart in long term. But when the increased heart rate occurs at rest or without known reason, this can be a problem.

Normally, increased heart rate points to the condition of when the body needs more blood distribution through arteries to support certain activities such as during exercise. In healthy individual, the arteries and other blood vessels can get larger (dilate) to accommodate the increased volume blood that flows.

How about with hypertension? Is there any correlation between tachycardia and hypertension?

Tachycardia has been shown to be associated with the increased risk of high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association.

Having prolonged faster resting heart rate can make your heart work harder than usual. As a result, this also can trigger your systolic and diastolic pressure to increase.

Systolic pressure is the force of blood against the walls of arteries when your heart works /beats. And for diastolic pressure, it is the pressure against the artery walls when your heart at rest (between beats).

What are causes of sudden increase in heart rate?

As mentioned before, it’s perfectly normal to have increased heart rate due to certain reasonable causes such as during stressful period and during exercise. But when it comes with unknown reason, you should not ignore it – see a doctor promptly for a clearly diagnosis!

In general, the rate of how many beats that made by your heart per minute is regulated by the special electrical impulses in the heart. When these impulses don’t work as well as it should, the heart rate is affected.

image_illustration24Sometimes the cause of sudden increase in your heart rate cannot be identified. But there are several factors that can have contribution to cause the problem – the following are some of them:

  1. Your own medical history, particularly if you have had heart disease such as myocarditis,  hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and a congenital heart defect – these diseases can increase your risk of developing ventricular tachycardia (a kind of tachycardia that starts in the ventricles ‘lower part of your heart’).
  2. If there are the heart’s structural abnormalities related to such conditions as hypertension or heart disease! This cause ranks at the top cause of atrial fibrillation (a kind of tachycardia that occurs when there is a chaotic electrical impulse in your atria ‘the upper chambers of the heart’). Having a heart valve disorder also can increase the risk of developing atrial fibrillation.
  3. After taking a heart surgery.
  4. The side effects of using certain medicines, such as antiarrhythmic.
  5. The imbalance substances in the blood may also have an effect. These may include electrolyte imbalances or lack of potassium in the blood.
  6. Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid).
  7. Prolonged high blood pressure or having too high blood pressure.
  8. A fever may also have contribution.
  9. Abusing cocaine.
  10. Stress. During stressful period, your heart rate can increase dramatically – as noted before. But it is usually only temporary. Once your stress goes away, your heart rate usually will return back to normal. However, this doesn’t mean getting stress is harmless. If your stress is uncontrollable, this can be bad for your heart in long term.
  11. Other lifestyle factors such as too much consumption of alcohol and smoking.
  12. The use of –pep- pills, certain diet pills, certain herbal remedies such as ma huang /ephedra, and some nonprescription decongestants may also trigger more episodes of tachycardia (especially ventricular tachycardia).

How does high blood pressure cause increased heart rate?

While tachycardia can be one of factors that may cause increased blood pressure, the high blood pressure itself also can increase the risk of developing tachycardia.

Once you have both problems, they can affect each other. Furthermore, some factors that can trigger hypertension also can be a trigger factor of developing tachycardia.

What are causes that can trigger a sudden increase in blood pressure?

Most cases of high blood pressure are treatable condition and typically they are closely influenced by lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise. Sometimes due to certain conditions and causes, the systolic and diastolic pressure can raise rapidly.

There are some causes of sudden increase in your blood pressure. Here are some of them:

Irritability, anxiety, and stress

These mood changes can affect your systolic and diastolic pressure at short time. Fortunately, the raised blood pressure due to these factors will return to normal once these mood changes go away.

In other words anxiety, irritability, and stress only cause temporary high blood pressure.

Nevertheless, you cannot underestimate this issue. More episodes of these mood changes mean more episodes of high blood pressure you will experience, and this is not good for the health of your heart and cardiovascular system in long term.

Therefore, it’s important to manage your stress.


Chewing tobacco can damage the artery walls. The damaged lining of artery walls can cause atherosclerosis and eventually will narrow the diameter of artery or even can totally block the blood that flows through an artery. And a clogged artery can be life-threatening condition!

Smoking may not often cause sudden increase in your systolic and diastolic pressure.

But according to a report in 2007 published in the American journal of hypertension, the effect of chewing tobacco in causing narrowed artery and increased blood pressure can start to occur after smoking just 1 cigarette.

The consumption of salt (sodium)

When it comes to the link between diet and hypertension, the excessive salt consumption ranks at the top cause of hypertension!

Salt can retain fluid. More dietary salt you get, more fluid of your body can be retained which mean higher risk of developing hypertension.

So, it is clear that too much consumption of salt can cause hypertension. But the question is how fast your dietary salt affects your systolic and diastolic pressure?

According to a study conducted by the Yale University School of Medicine, the dietary salt (especially too much consumption of salt) can be potential to cause sudden increase in systolic and diastolic pressure.

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