Could Heart Palpitations Accompanied By Shortness Of Breath Be Serious
Heart palpitations can certainly be associated with shortness of breath, that is, the two symptoms together without a serious condition being present. That usually indicates that the irregularity of the heart rhythm is significant and may signal the need for a more comprehensive evaluation.
In general, the more serious the symptoms, such as lightheadedness, loss of consciousness, chest pain, shortness of breath, the more seriously one needs to take the problem.
If a patient has known heart disease such as a previous myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure , hypertrophic cardiomyopathy , and others, the symptoms of palpitations will require a thorough evaluation.
Can I Experience Heart Palpitations During Panic Attacks
The startle effect releases substances in the body such as adrenaline which cause the heart rate to increase and the heart to beat more vigorously, creating a sensation of panic, heart pounding and heart racing. This is the experience of becoming aware of a natural or normal functioning of the nervous system. Anxiety, panic, and startling cause the adrenaline level to rise and create the sensation of palpitation.
How To Prevent Heart Palpitations
As we have discussed, some heart problems that cause heart palpitations may need medical attention, however, there are some cases that can be handled using certain techniques. Some of them include :
- Relaxation techniques: it is not a secret that stress is a major contributor to having heart palpitations. Nevertheless, you can actually handle or manage it by using some relaxation techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises, keeping a journal, doing yoga, spending some time outdoors, exercising or taking some time off work/school, among others.
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How Do You Stop Heart Palpitations
It can be scary to notice unusual sensations in your chest. If your heart wont stop pounding, or you feel an irregular heartbeat, does it mean that you are having a heart attack or heart failure?
While palpitations can be a sign of a heart condition, it is best to talk to a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. The truth is that heart palpitations can also be caused by a variety of other health conditions. In this article, you will learn about the cause of heart palpitations, and what should be done when you are experiencing palpitations.
How To Stop Heart Palpitations
Heart palpitations. Dont these two words make you shudder with anxiety?
Well, maybe the words dont, but the sensations caused by heart palpitations certainly do scare people.
In fact, its the main topic of emails that I get from people who contact me with questions.
And given that this anxiety symptom is so common among anxiety sufferers, I thought it would be helpful to do a how to article on palpitations.
First, a few basics. A heart palpitation is an abnormal beating of the heart AND your heightened awareness of your heart beat. Palpitations can cause your heart to beat fast , slow , flutter, or to even have skipped heart beats .
Heart palpitations can be caused by electrolyte imbalances, adrenaline, anemia, heart disease, arrhythmias, hypoglycemia , and of course, anxiety disorders. There are more causes, but the ones listed are common.
Now, because heart disease could be involved, its always a good idea to see your doctor if youre experiencing new or ongoing heart palpitations.
No need for fear, this is mainly a precaution to safeguard your health and your sanity. When you go to your doctor he/she will run an ECG and take some blood. If the results come back negative, then you can start your efforts to stop your heart palpitations without having to worry about having a heart attack.
How Palpitations Work
- Tunnel vision
- Muscle tension
Its also important to point out that palpitations are almost always accompanied by anxiety and panic.
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Whats The Individual Response
Everyone responds a little differently to stress and anxiety. Something that makes one person anxious may have the opposite effect on someone else. You may be petrified to make a toast at a large gathering, but chances are you know people who cant wait for their turn to grab the mic.
If youre in a situation thats making you anxious, heart palpitations are just one of the signs that your ANS has switched on. Other physical symptoms include:
- Rapid breathing
- Feeling exhausted
Can Heart Palpitations Be Prevented Or Avoided
Heart palpitations cannot always be prevented or avoided. Here are some things you can do that may help prevent or avoid heart palpitations:
- Do not use illegal street drugs, such as cocaine.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.
- Tell your doctor what medicines and herbal supplements you take.
- Tell your doctor how much alcohol you drink and if you use anything else that might cause palpitations.
- Keep track of your palpitations. Write down the time that they happen and what you were doing when they began. Give this information to your doctor. He or she may be able to use this information to determine what is causing your heart palpitations.
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Different Types Of Anxiety Disorders
Each type of anxiety disorder has its own unique symptoms:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
A person with generalized anxiety disorder has frequent or constant feelings of worry and anxiety about issues, such as health, work, social interactions, or everyday situations. These feelings can cause problems in areas of your life such as school, work, and social interactions. In some cases, people with GAD have experienced these feelings since childhood or adolescence, while in other cases, they may have been triggered by temporary stress.
What Your Heartbeat Says About Your Heart
Palpitations are basically a heightened awareness of your own heartbeat, explains Swadia. Your heart might beat faster, slower or differently than usual for a few reasons.
- Rapid, fast heartbeat at rest could be caused by stress, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, thyroid pills, cold medication, asthma drugs or diet pills.
- Sometimes low blood pressure , heart disease and some heart rhythm conditions can cause rapid heartbeat, too.
- A slow, forceful heartbeat might be a sign of heart rhythm problems such as bradycardia, in which your heart beats less than 60 times a minute.
- An irregular or fluttering heartbeat could be caused by atrial fibrillation , the most common type of irregular or abnormal heartbeat. Another heart problem, called premature ventricular contractions, can create this irregular beat.
It might be difficult for patients to describe how exactly their heart is feeling. And likewise, doctors sometimes have a hard time understanding what the patient is feeling.
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How To Reduce Heart Palpitations At Home
For the most part, palpitations caused by non-heart related triggers can be treated with simple home remedies.
For example, if you only feel your heart race when youre anxious or stressed, relaxation techniques like meditation and deep breathing could be the key to reducing these palpitations.
Likewise, a thumping heart caused by stimulant use can be calmed by reducing your intake of tobacco products and caffeine. If youre taking any medication, tell your doctor about the palpitations youre experiencing to find out if your medication could be causing them.
Hydration and diet play a big role, too. Being dehydrated or having low levels of potassium can also trigger heart palpitations. If you have low blood sugar, eating too many carbohydrate-rich foods and processed sugars can increase your likelihood of experiencing palpitations.
What You Can Do In The Meantime
Before your appointment, you can try to improve your symptoms by avoiding activities or stresses that might cause your palpitations. Some common triggers include:
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Too much caffeine or alcohol
- Use of medications or supplements that contain stimulants, such as energy drinks or some cold medicines
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What Do Heart Palpitations Feel Like
Heart palpitations produce a sensation where it feels like the heart is fluttering, pounding, or skipping beats. Many people are scared when they feel heart palpitations. The good news is that most causes of heart palpitations are not serious and do not need treatment. If you know what causes heart palpitations, it may ease your mind when you feel them. However, some causes of heart palpitations are serious so you should learn when to be concerned about heart palpitations and when to see a doctor.
Schedule For Anxiety Treatment
Studies show that psychiatric issues are becoming more common among patients experiencing palpitations. Their emotions make them feel like theyre sick when theyre actually not.Schedule an appointment with a mental health specialist if youre feeling symptoms of anxiety, such as restlessness, nervousness, confusion, and palpitations. He/She can accurately diagnose the condition you have.Dont be afraid or embarrassed to visit one. Remember, these experts are here to help you, and they have nothing but your best interest in mind.
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How Could A Pacemaker Improve Heart Palpitations
In recent years, patients with the most severe types of heart rhythm disorders have benefited from sophisticated pacemakers and devices capable of correcting the heart rhythm with an electrical shock delivered automatically after the heart rhythm disorder occurs. Obviously, these are highly specialized devices, and they are normally prescribed and tested by heart specialists.
How Accurate Are Electrocardiograms
An electrocardiogram is a representation of the electrical activity of the heart in multiple views. It records about 12 seconds and patients with palpitations may or may not have an abnormality on their EKG during that time. That is why many physicians use ambulatory EKGs or Holter monitors to try to make a diagnosis.
The other benefit of the standard EKG is that it may reveal evidence of other things that may be wrong with the heart such as an old heart attack or other electrical abnormalities that may provide important clues to an underlying diagnosis that the palpitations represent. So an electrocardiogram is a valuable part of a heart evaluation, but is not particularly sensitive for detecting heart rhythm abnormalities.
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Get Up And Get Moving
Physical activity and exercise can help you manage anxiety and stress. A 2019 meta-analysis in the journal Depression and Anxiety found that compared to people with anxiety disorders who reported low physical activity, people that self-reported a high level of physical activity were more protected from developing anxiety symptoms.
Isaacson points out that while exercise can help with anxiety, it is also known to lower your resting heart rate, which makes it one of the most important factors for heart health. “Exercise is an important method for managing anxiety, especially if you have cardiac disease, since it provides direct benefit to the cardiovascular system,” he says.
Complications From Heart Palpitations
There is little risk if you are having heart palpitations alone, without an underlying heart condition.
However, if your heart palpitations are manifesting due to a heart problem then some of the possible complications include:
- Fainting: if your heart beats at an abnormal rate this can cause your blood pressure to drop and subsequently you can faint.
- Cardiac arrest: it is rare that heart palpitations can lead to a life-threatening condition, however, if you have arrhythmia then your heart can stop beating as it is supposed to.
- Stroke: if palpitations are caused by a heart condition such as atrial fibrillation where the upper chambers of your heart start to have an abnormal firing of electrical impulses then blood clots can form and block brain arteries causing a stroke.
- Heart failure: if due to arrhythmia your heart starts to pump blood ineffectively and for a prolonged period of time then this can consequently evolve into heart failure.
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Natural Treatment Of Heart Palpitations
The way you treat heart palpitations will depend on what is causing them. Making sure youre eating enough food and staying hydrated is important for keeping your blood sugar and electrolyte levels where they should be.
If youre unsure of why youre getting heart palpitations, please contact our office for an appointment with Dr Gruber. He will be able to evaluate your condition and order appropriate testing for any underlying conditions that could be triggering them.
Stress relief is a natural solution for heart palpitations
If, like most people, your heart palpitations are being brought on by stress or anxiety, youre going to need to learn to control these emotions in order to find relief. HeartMath tools such as the Neutral Tool are ways to calm yourself during an episode of palpitations as well as good daily practices to try to keep your anxiety at bay. Other natural ways to reduce stress include a healthy diet, regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and making time for activities that you find relaxing and pleasurable.
If youre struggling to manage your stress by yourself, seeking help from a professional is a great option. Heart Strengths Therapy can help people like you learn take control of anxiety and live a better life.
The concerns that come with extreme and frequent stress go far beyond heart palpitations. Making sure you learn how to properly deal with it can improve your health and quality of life in several ways.
What Medications Are Usually Prescribed To Prevent Palpitations
There are a large number of medications that are used by physicians that are used to treat more serious types of heart rhythm disorders. These are usually prescribed by a heart specialist because they do have significant side effects and if not used correctly can cause serious cardiovascular problems, even a cardiac arrest or sudden death.
When used correctly, these powerful medications can prevent serious heart rhythm disorders from occurring and can be quite useful, although most patients would prefer not to be on them because of their cost, side effects, and they often must be taken multiple times a day.
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When Emergency Services Are Needed For Heart Palpitations
If you are experiencing unusual heart palpitations, have a history of heart disease, or you are unsure why you are having these symptoms, then the best solution is to talk to a doctor for a diagnosis. A medical expert can help in identifying the underlying problem so the right treatment plan can be designed.
During the appointment, your doctor will complete a thorough medical exam and evaluate your medical history. Additionally, questions will be asked about your diet, medications, and lifestyle. It is important that you provide as much information as possible, including the specifics of how often, when, and what circumstances trigger your palpitations.
Control Your Stress Levels
You have to understand that stressful situations are a natural part of life. No matter how much money you have, how old you are, or where you live, youre bound to come across issues thatll give you a hard time.If avoiding these issues is impossible, the next best thing to do is control the way you react to them. Remember, stress manifests itself through symptoms that would cause one to feel nervous and anxious, hence the palpitations.When faced with a terrible situation, try shifting your focus to something else, even for just a few minutes. Perform activities you feel would help ease off some of the tension.Youll find it much easier to solve the problem at hand with a clear, objective mind.
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Risks For A Racing Heart
Everyone has the potential for heart palpitations. Theres a good chance youve felt them yourself. There are some risk factors, however, that can contribute to developing palpitations. They include:
- Being highly stressed
- Taking cold or asthma medicines containing stimulants
- An overactive thyroid
- Having heart problems
How Long Do Heart Palpitations Induce Due To Anxiety Last
Its plain and simple if theyre caused due to anxiety. The palpitations will diminish after the anxiety will get less and less. So, there isnt a specific time for it.
How to slow down your heart rate if its caused by anxiety
There are different ways to combat anxiety and reduce or eliminate it at all.
Lets talk about the three most effective ways to reduce anxiety and get you to a normal and balanced heart rate.
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Learn To Manage Your Stress And Stop Heart Palpitations With Dr Gary Gruber
Dr. Gary Gruber is a licensed naturopathic practitioner and holistic health counselor. He owns Family and Environmental Medicine where he specializes in helping his patients find natural solutions for health conditions related to stress and anxiety causing heart palpitations.
If youre experiencing heart palpitations and want to avoid them by learning to cope with stress in a healthier way, contact Dr. Gary Gruber.
Family and Environmental Medicine is in the heart of Fairfield County, Connecticut near Downtown Canaan. His office is only 10 minutes from Stamford and Darien, 20 minutes from Greenwich, and an hour from NYC by train.
Capturing Heart Palpitations In Action
If you are at risk for a heart rhythm problem, or if palpitations are interfering with your life or mental health, a recording of your heart’s rhythm for 24 hours or even longer may capture an electrical “signature” of the problem. Getting visual evidence of this signature can help determine how best to treat your palpitations.
A Holter monitor constantly records your heart’s rhythm for 24 hours as you go about your daily activities. Small patches called electrodes are stuck onto your chest and attached to a recorder that you carry in a pocket or wear around your neck or waist. During the test, you keep a diary of what you are doing and how you feel, along with the time of day of each entry. When you return the monitor to your doctor, he or she will look at the recording to see if there have been any irregular heart rhythms.
Twenty-four hours often isn’t long enough to detect palpitations. An event recorder can monitor the heart for days or weeks. There’s even an implantable recorder that can invisibly monitor the heart for a year or more.
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