When To Evaluate Heart Palpitations
Palpitations are symptoms of everything from short or long-term stress to a variety of arrhythmias . They may feel alarming, but do not always reflect a serious heart condition. Joseph Marine, M.D., vice-director of the Division of Cardiology at Johns Hopkins, starts his evaluation by asking his patients what they hear.
Heart Rate Suddenly Jumps: Why And How To Help
Under normal conditions, a healthy adults heart rate range from 60 to 100 beats per minute. There may be a sudden occasional increase in heart beat, which resolves in a couple of minutes. The condition is referred to as tachycardia and is generally harmless. However, if your increased heart beat is recurring or persistent or if other symptoms are also present, then you should consult a physician.
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What Are Heart Palpitations
Most of the time you wont notice your heartbeat, but if you suddenly become aware of it, this may concern you or come as a surprise. The feeling of being aware of your heart beating is described as a palpitation.
Palpitations can range from simply being aware of your hearts activity to the sensation of it beating faster and harder than usual. It can sometimes feel like your heart is missing beats or you have a heart flutter.
Changes to your heartbeat are usually not serious. But always see your doctor if you have palpitations or feel you have an irregular heart beat.
Dial triple zero if you have heart palpitations along with these symptoms:
- severe shortness of breath
- fainting or blackouts
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Why Do I Experience Rapid Heartbeat While Lying Down
Heart palpitations can happen any time of day, but it is more likely to occur during nighttime or when lying down.
Rapid heartbeat during the night would probably become worse when you sleep on your left side.
Bending your body while lying on your left side puts more pressure on the organs in this area, which is basically the heart and chest wall, causing the sensation to reverberate.
Unknown palpitations throughout the day can also be a factor that contributes to rapid heartbeats while lying down.
Heart palpitations can become more noticeable when youre about to sleep, since you are in a quiet and more relaxed environment.
Consuming caffeine or smoking before going to bed can also set off heart palpitations right before you sleep.
What Causes Heart Palpitations When Lying Down At Night
Heart DiseasePeople who have heart diseases are likely to experience frequent heart palpitations due to the defects in the heart. Oftenly occurs when one is lying down due to the side the heart is at and has to work harder in circulating blood through the body system. This happens often if the heart already is suffering from a given ailment or condition. Diseases or conditions affecting the heart such as, valvular heart disease, cardiac arrhythmias and my cordial infarction are some of the known ailments of the heart which can lead to an acceleration of the beats of the heart hence palpitations.
Intake of Caffeine Drinking large quantities of caffeine per day accelerates the metabolism rates of the body system which in turn leads to an increase in the beats of the heart of any given person. Excessive drinking of coffee or tea which are stimulants which contain high levels of caffeine is major causes of the abnormal beating of the heart.
Dehydration Excessive alcohol intake or doing exercises before going to bed or late hours of the day may cause one to suffer from dehydration, this mostly shows when they get palpitations while lying down. Manifests itself while an individual is lying down.
Smoking Nicotine which is mostly found in cigarettes which is a form of a stimulant, leads to the acceleration of the beats of the heart. Individuals who have the hobby of smoking find themselves at a high risk of suffering from heart palpitations.
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Sometimes Comfort And Reassurance Are The Best Medicine
While palpitations can sometimes signal a more serious condition, theyre often just a sensation of a normal heartbeat, says Marine. Confirming that nothing is seriously wrong is sometimes all a person needs. Relaxation techniques and reassurance from a physician I find that both are very helpful when the cause of palpitations is benign.
Patterns Of Heart Palpitations Like Heart Flutters Or Skipped Heartbeats
A flickering in your chest. A missed beat. A sudden racing feeling. These are all examples of heart palpitations. When you have heart palpitations, youre more aware of your heartbeat than usual.
What does a heart flutter or palpitation feel like? These sensations usually arent painful, but they sure do feel strange. You may feel like your heartbeat is fluttering or like your heart skipped a beat. You may also experience a pounding sensation from a racing heartbeat or a slow heartbeat. Or your heartbeat might feel heavy in your chest.
An occasional heart palpitation, heart flutter or skipped beat is normal even healthy hearts do this every now and then. But if your heart palpitations seem to come and go with some regularity, its a good idea to write down your symptoms and when theyre most likely to occur, and talk with your doctor.
For example, do you experience heart palpitations when lying down or sitting up? Does changing position help? Or do you feel a fluttering in your chest when youre exercising or can it happen when youre at rest too?
So, what causes heart palpitations? There can be several different explanations. That said, recurring heart palpitations can be related to heart arrhythmias such as tachycardia, bradycardia or atrial fibrillation all of which can be easily treated and effectively managed.
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What Other Conditions Cause A Low Heart Rate
Many of the medical conditions that cause bradycardia are more common in people who are older or have underlying heart conditions. Some examples of medical problems that can cause bradycardia include:
Problems with the hearts electrical pathways: There is a special electrical circuit in our heart that controls each heart beat. Problems with this conduction system can cause the signal to go awry. This is called an arrhythmia.
An abnormal shape or structure of the heart: The shape and size of the heart can begin to change in response to other medical problems. Examples include high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, or heavy alcohol use. Some people are born with certain defects, too. All of these conditions can affect the conduction system we just mentioned.
Metabolic abnormalities: The heart requires the right balance of electrolytes and hormones to pump correctly. Conditions like hypothyroidism or low potassium levels can cause the heart to beat too slowly.
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What is sinus tachycardia? What causes it? How is it treated?
Sinus tachycardia is the term used to describe a faster-than-normal heartbeat a rate of more than 100 beats per minute versus the typical normal of 60 to 70 beats per minute. Well over 99 percent of the time, sinus tachycardia is perfectly normal. The increased heart rate doesnât harm the heart and doesnât require medical treatment.
The term sinus tachycardia has nothing to do with sinuses around the nose and cheeks. Rather, it comes from the sinus node, a thumbnail-sized structure in the upper right chamber of the heart. This structure controls the heart rate and is called the heartâs natural pacemaker.
The sinus node signals the heart to speed up during exercise or in situations that are stressful, frightening or exciting. For example, a 10- to 15-minute brisk walk typically elevates the heart rate to 110 to 120 beats per minute. Also, the sinus node increases the heart rate when the body is stressed because of illness. In all of these circumstances, the heart rate increase is a normal response.
Likewise, the sinus node signals the heart to slow down during rest or relaxation.
For some patients, the elevated heart rate is the only symptom. Some have a lifelong history of sinus tachycardia in the 110 beats per minute range, and they lead a normal, healthy life. And often the inappropriate sinus tachycardia will improve in time without treatment.
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Low Sleeping Heart Rate
Lower heart rates can signal a healthier heart, as with athletes, but that is not always the case. Bradycardia, which is more common in older adults, describes a resting heart rate that is below 60 beats per minute .
A number of health conditions can contribute to lower heart rates, including heart disease, rheumatic fever, Lyme disease, and sleep apnea. Certain substances and medications may also cause a lower heart rate. Underlying health conditions such as anorexia, hypothyroidism, and sleep apnea can sometimes contribute to a lower heart rate.
What Is A Normal Sleeping Heart Rate
Dr. Abhinav Singh, Sleep Physician
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Your heart rate fluctuates throughout the day, based on activity levels and emotions. Stress and exercise can raise heart rate, while sleeping can lower it. A normal heart rate while sleeping is often between 40 to 50 beats per minute , though there is variability between individuals.
We discuss what is considered a normal sleeping heart rate for each age range, as well as share signs to look out for that may indicate an underlying condition.
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Treatment Options To Deal With Heart Racing At Night
Treatment options to deal with heart racing at night focuses on targeting the underlying cause. You should seek immediate medical attention if you also notice chest pain and discomfort, fainting, severe dizziness, and sudden shortness of breath.
Medications can help relieve heart racing at night or you may have to change medications you are taking if they are the cause.
If your nighttime heart racing is triggered by emotions, you will want to find ways to combat your anxiety or stress. You should also avoid substances and activities that can trigger heart racing prior to bed. This includes strenuous exercise, smoking, drinking alcohol, or eating too late at night.
If youre concerned that your heart racing at night is caused by a more serious health condition, you will want to book an appointment with your doctor to get properly diagnosed. After identifying the exact cause, your doctor can recommend you a specific treatment for your condition.
Treatment Of Heart Palpitations When Lying Down
Treatment of heart palpitations when lying down depends on the underlying cause. For example if you lay down after a meal and experience heart palpitations you may not wish to make that a habit any longer. Additionally if you notice smoking a cigarette or drinking coffee are the cause for your heart palpitations these habits, too, must be changed.
Some simple and effective treatment options for heart palpitations include:
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Avoiding certain foods and beverages
- Avoid stimulants like caffeine and nicotine or medications which act like stimulants like decongestants and some natural supplements
The important part to treating heart palpitations is knowing the underlying cause and managing that. If you cant figure out what the trigger is you may want to speak with your doctor and have them run some tests on your heart.
Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.
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Typical Resting Heart Rates
For most adults, a normal resting heart rate is considered to be between 60 to 100 bpm, though this range can vary and depends on multiple factors. Adult males tend to have lower heart rates.
A heart rate outside of this range may still be considered healthy in certain situations. For example, athletes and physically fit individuals may have resting heart rates as low as 30 bpm. Your doctor can help you assess whether your resting heart rate is healthy for you.
Resting heart rate decreases with age. For example, one large study found that the upper limit of the average resting heart rate is 110 bpm for adults 18 to 45 years old, 100 bpm for those between 45 and 60 years old, and 95 bpm for those older than 60. These are the average resting heart rates for healthy adults, as reported by the same study:
When Is A Heart Rate Dangerous
A heart rate can be dangerous if it is regularly above or below normal levels, but it depends on the situation. For example, a consistently low heart rate can be healthy in an athlete, but a sign of an underlying problem in an older adult or someone who lives a sedentary lifestyle. Brief spikes in heart rate during stress or physical activity are normal, but a resting heart rate that is consistently higher than average could indicate heart disease, or a thyroid problem.
Symptoms like dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting can be signs that a heart rate is too high or too low. A high heart rate may also cause symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, or heart palpitations. A low heart rate may cause fatigue, difficulty exercising, or brain fog.
Knowing your typical heart rate can help you become aware when it falls outside of your normal pattern.
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What Causes Heart Palpitations
Most people have heart palpitations from time to time. Some common causes include:
- Hormones: Fluctuating hormones can speed up your heart rate during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause.
- Nicotine use: Recently smoking tobacco products, especially on an empty stomach, can lead to heart palpitations.
Why Does My Heart Beat Fast When I Lay Down
Heart palpitations refer to a fluttery feeling in the heart when you lay down. It can also be compared to the feeling of a pounding heart or heart racing when lying down. People can experience heart palpitations at any time and due to any reason.
What should you know about heart palpitations when lying down? Often, when people lay down at night to sleep, they start feeling like their heart is beating faster than usual. But did you know palpitations can be caused by something as nominal as changing the body position? While lying down, your stomach and chest cavity are compressed together. It puts pressure on the heart and, as a result, increases blood circulation. So you can fix the palpitations by again changing the position.
When you lay on the left side of your body, the vagus nerve is activated, which can cause heart palpitations. The vagus nerve stretches from the brain to the abdomen and controls the heart rate. Therefore, when you lay on the left side, the vagus nerve is stimulated, and it sends unusual electric signals to the heart, resulting in heart palpitations when lying down. Heart palpitation is usually a harmless reaction of the body. However, if you are worried or disturbed by it, you can change your position or avoid lying on the left side of your body.
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What Causes Heart Palpitations At Night
Usually, heart palpitations are harmless and dont result from an underlying health problem. They happen when the heart beats out of rhythm or contracts too soon. Providers call this a premature ventricular contraction or premature atrial contraction . Nearly everyone has a PVC or PAC from time to time. But not everyone feels them.
Some people get heart palpitations when lying down because of the position in which they sleep. Sleeping hunched over on your side can increase pressure inside your body, causing palpitations. Many other common causes of heart palpitations include:
- Myocarditis, inflammation of the hearts muscles that results from a viral infection.
- Thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism.
- Structural problems in the heart, including valve disease.
What To Know About Heart Palpitations
Heart palpitations is the feeling of having heart flutters when lying down. It can also be the feeling of having a fast heartbeat or the feeling that the heart is pounding strongly. They can occur at different times for different reasons, according to the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Some people experience their heart beating fast at night and can’t sleep. Patients may ask, “Why does my heart beat fast when I lay down?” Most often palpitations are caused by the change in position of the body. When you lay down you compress the stomach and chest cavity together, putting pressure on the heart and blood flow and increasing circulation. The easiest fix for this is to simply change position.
Experiencing heart palpitations when lying down on the left side may be from activating the vagus nerve. This is an important nerve that reaches from the brain to the abdomen. It is responsible for controlling the heart rate. Lying on your left side can stimulate the vagus nerve, sending abnormal electrical signals to the heart causing palpitations. It is a harmless reaction and if it worries you, change position or avoid lying on your left side.
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