Medically reviewed on August 1, 2022 by Karen Janson, M.D. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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Whether you feel your pulse on your wrist or press a hand to your heart, your heart rate is one of the few health factors you can feel in real-time. Still, it may not always be easy to know what heart rate is healthy—and if you’re wondering about your heart, you may ask, “What are the signs of an unhealthy heart rate?”
For most people, a healthy heart rate ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute.  That said, some people’s resting heart rate can be dangerous, and certain health conditions can stem from heart rate problems.
While symptoms of an unhealthy heart rate may resemble traditional exhaustion or minor illness, there are other elements to consider. This article will take you through common signs of heart rate problems, as well as the potential dangers of an unhealthy heart rate. Along the way, we’ll explore actionable steps you can take if you experience these symptoms.
Heart issues aren’t just isolated to your chest. The signs of an unhealthy heart rate can manifest from your head to your toes and everywhere in between.
Many of these symptoms don’t necessarily point toward compromised heart health. But by knowing what to look for and understanding the range of possible side effects, you’ll be better prepared to deal with potential heart rate issues if they appear.
One of the clearest signs of an unhealthy heart rate is often an irregular heartbeat.  Inconsistencies with your heart rate often indicate that something is off about your heart health, and an irregular heartbeat is a hard-to-miss symptom.
A problem with the rate or rhythm of your heartbeat is called an “arrhythmia.”  The most common form of arrhythmia are:
A heart palpitation or the feeling of a pounding heart is different. While sometimes worrisome, it is rarely serious.
Various factors including, heart attacks, smoking, and certain medications, can directly affect your heart rhythm, leading to irregularities and potential health risks.
If you suspect you have an irregular heartbeat, seek advice from your healthcare provider as soon as possible.  They may need to run additional tests to diagnose your condition and determine appropriate treatment options.
We’re all subject to the occasional exhaustion, but if you’re feeling constantly fatigued, there may be larger health implications—and your heart rate could be a factor.
Exhaustion is usually traced to a lack of sleep, nutrition, and overworking. But if you’re suffering from an unhealthy heart rate or a condition like bradycardia, you may experience fatigue even when your daily activities, diet, and environment have remained the same. 
Heart rate issues may result in an oxygen deficiency in your heart, brain, and other organs, resulting in fatigue. Fatigue-related symptoms may include: 
As you evaluate your symptoms, it’s important not to negate any fatigue you’re feeling. Be sure to report this to your healthcare provider along with any other issues you’re having, like an irregular heartbeat.
An oxygen deficiency caused by an irregular heart rate could also lead to a feeling of dizziness.  If your heart isn’t pumping enough oxygen to the brain, you may also experience lightheadedness or even fainting.
Alongside dizziness, you could experience nausea and related symptoms, including:
Consistent stomach-related pain could be the result of any number of illnesses or gastrointestinal problems, but they are also indicators of a potential heart problem.  Often, heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems occur following an extended period of unexplained nausea and stomach problems.
Early signs of heart problems are often hard to put together. If you experience arm and shoulder pain, you might first attribute it to an exercise injury, soreness, or a result of general aches and pains. But in some instances, arm and shoulder pain may indicate an unhealthy heart rate or an underlying cardiac condition.
Without further testing, it may be difficult to determine whether arm and shoulder pain is heart-related. Consider the following elements of this particular symptom: 
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms in combination, they could be a sign of a serious heart issue, and you’ll want to consult with a medical professional immediately.
Have you been feeling winded? Conditions like asthma and anxiety are common culprits when it comes to shortness of breath. But if you’re having trouble breathing, your heart could also be the issue.
While you might expect a lung issue to interfere with your breathing, an irregular heart rate and related heart issues could leave you struggling to take deep breaths.
Shortness of breath can be a symptom of heart-related issues, including: 
No matter the cause, shortness of breath can be a concerning symptom—especially if it occurs out of the blue. If you’re having trouble breathing, consult with a healthcare provider right away.
Pain in your chest may appear as an obvious sign of heart problems, but all-too-often these pains are dismissed as heartburn, indigestion, or other gastrointestinal problems.
However, sudden pressure, pain, and burning sensations in your chest should never be ignored, as these symptoms could be linked to your heart rate or other heart-related conditions.
Consider the following key elements of heart-related chest pain:
An unhealthy heart rate can leave you weakened and exhausted even when you’re sleeping plenty. But at the same time, the condition can also make sleep itself more difficult.
An unhealthy heart rate can lead to sleep apnea, a condition in which your breathing stops while you are asleep.  Not only is sleep apnea a concerning condition, but it can also hinder your body’s ability to rest and recover.
Sleep problems can also result in further medical complications, including:
Some medical devices and treatments can help relieve sleep apnea symptoms. However, if your sleep condition is related to a heart rate issue, you may need first to resolve the underlying heart trouble to finally find a healthy night's rest.
Are your shoes and socks feeling tighter? It may seem like a minor inconvenience, but swollen feet and ankles can point toward an issue within your circulatory system. 
When a healthy heart beats, it circulates blood throughout the body evenly. But an irregular heart rate or a weakened heart muscle may not be strong enough, leading to poor circulation.
The result is blood pooling in your lower extremities—the place where gravity naturally pulls your blood.
Consider the following aspects of this symptom:
Pay close attention to your feet, and alert your healthcare provider if you notice any swelling. They’re not just there to keep you upright–they could also provide you with an important clue about your heart health.
With this list of symptoms, you might find it a little easier to watch for the signs of a potential heart rate problem. Any of these symptoms may warrant a consultation with your medical provider.
Additionally, you can keep a close eye on your heart health by exploring Everlywell.
What’s going on inside your body doesn’t have to be a guessing game. We’ve perfected lab-tested, physician-reviewed home testing to make prioritizing your health simple and clear. If you’re concerned about your heart, try our Heart Health Test for a comprehensive picture and actionable data.
There’s a world of wellness to explore, and we’re excited to be your guide.