When To See A Gp
You do not usually need to see a GP if the palpitations pass quickly and only happen occasionally. They’re unlikely to be caused by a serious problem and probably will not need treatment.
But it’s a good idea to see a GP if:
- the palpitations last a long time, do not improve or get worse
- you have a history of heart problems
- you’re concerned about the palpitations
To help find the cause, a GP may:
- ask about your symptoms and medical history
- arrange a blood test
- carry out an electrocardiogram to check your heart rate
If you cannot have an ECG at the GP surgery or the GP wants to arrange heart monitoring over a longer time period, you may be referred for tests at a local hospital.
How Is Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia Treated
You might not need treatment if your symptoms are minimal or if you only have episodes of rapid heart rate occasionally. Treatment may be necessary if you have an underlying condition causing the PSVT or more severe symptoms like heart failure or passing out.
If you have a rapid heart rate but your symptoms arent severe, your doctor can show you techniques to return your heart rate to normal. Its called the Valsalva maneuver. It involves closing your mouth and pinching your nose while trying to exhale and straining as if you were trying to have a bowel movement. You should do this while sitting and bending your body forward.
You can perform this maneuver at home. It may work up to 50 percent of the time. You can also try coughing while sitting and bending forward. Splashing ice water on your face is another technique to help lower your heart rate.
Treatments for PSVT include medications, such as or flecainide or propafenone, to help regulate your heartbeat. A procedure called radiofrequency catheter ablation is a common way to correct PSVT permanently. Its performed in the same way as an EPS. It allows your doctor to use electrodes to disable the electrical pathway thats causing the PSVT.
If your PSVT doesnt respond to other treatments, your doctor may surgically implant apacemaker into your chest to regulate your heart rate.
What Can Cause Heart Racing At Night
1. Nightmares or Night Terrors
If you suddenly wake up with yourheart racing, you may have been experiencing nightmares. This symptom may be accompanied by fast breathing and sweating on the forehead. People who have night terrors usually remain asleep throughout their experience and do not remember their dreams, but they may experience rapid heartbeats. Although nightmares or night terrors are harmless, they can disrupt sleep or lead to some injury if they occur often.
2. Emotional Triggers
Heart racing at night can also be due to emotional triggers. Rapid heart rates are often triggered by emotional factors such as anxiety, stress or excitement, all of which increase the amount of adrenaline produced by the body.
3. Hormonal Changes in Period, Pregnancy and Menopause
Hormonal and other bodily changes during menstrual periods, pregnancy and menopause can cause your heart to beat faster. Fortunately, if you are otherwise healthy, these changes are temporary and will not cause serious problems.
4. Certain Medications or Substance
You may be taking certain medications that cause heart racing at night. Palpitation is a common side effect of many medications. Drugs medications used to treat high blood pressure and asthma, for example, often cause your heart to beat rapidly. Besides, the consumption of spicy foods, caffeine, nicotine alcohol and recreational drugs can also make your heart beat faster. Such an effect may be more obvious at night when your body rests.
You May Like: What Causes Low Blood Pressure And High Heart Rate
How Are These Conditions Diagnosed
Van Herle explains that your doctor will take your pulse, either by counting the number of heartbeats in one minute or by using an electrocardiogram, a painless test that detects and records your heart activity through the use of small electrodes, or sensors, that are attached to your chest and arms or legs.
If your racing pulse is intermittent, she says, your doctor may order other types of testing to further evaluate it, such as a Holter monitor or a cardiac event recorder. Both of these devices are types of portable electrocardiograms that you can wear for a limited amount of time, ranging from 24 hours up to weeks or months. This will provide your doctor with information about your heart rate and rhythm over a longer period of time.
Following a heart-healthy lifestyle is always a good idea, but it may not necessarily reduce the episodes or complications of arrhythmia, according to Van Herle. In some cases, other medical therapies may be necessary. Work with your doctor to manage your symptoms.
How Are Arrhythmias Diagnosed
Arrhythmias can be diagnosed in several ways. The doctor will use a person’s medical history information, along with a physical examination, to begin the evaluation. If an arrhythmia is suspected, the doctor will probably recommend an ECG/EKG to measure the heart’s electrical activity.
There’s nothing painful about an ECG/EKG it’s just a procedure where a series of electrodes are attached to the skin with sticky papers. The electrodes have wires attached to them, which connect to the EKG machine.
The electrical signals from the heart are then briefly recorded, usually for just 10 seconds. This information is sent to a computer, where it’s interpreted and drawn as a graph.
A doctor might recommend these types of ECG/EKG tests:
You May Like: Does Tylenol Increase Heart Rate
Dehydration In The Elderly
As with infants and children, elderly people are also at higher risk for dehydration. Some elderly people can become chronically dehydrated if they take certain medications . They can also metabolically have a diminished sense of thirst or physically have a difficult time getting a glass of water.
Signs of dehydration you should look for in the elderly include low blood pressure, confusion, dizziness and constipation. Urinary tract infections, which are common in older adults, can also cause dehydration. If symptoms become severe, make sure you take your elderly relative to the emergency room.
Recommended Reading: Acetaminophen Heart Rate
Having A Racing Heart Chest Pain And Dizziness
A racing heart, chest pain, and dizziness are warning signs of a heart attack. If you or someone else are experiencing these symptoms, call 911 or your local emergency services right away.
A heart attack is a medical emergency and needs immediate medical treatment. Go to the nearest emergency room if you experience these symptoms.
Your doctor will begin by asking about your symptoms and performing a physical examination. Theyll listen to your heart and check for signs of conditions that can cause a racing heart, such as an enlarged thyroid.
Your doctor may also order one or more of the following tests:
Read Also: Low Blood Pressure Heart Failure Elderly
What Is Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat illness and is a life-threatening emergency. It is the result of long, extreme exposure to the sun. In this case, a person does not sweat enough to lower body temperature. The elderly, infants, persons who work outdoors, people with mental illness, obesity, poor circulation, and those on certain types of medicines or drinking alcohol are most susceptible to heat stroke. It is a condition that develops rapidly and needs immediate medical treatment.
What Is The Outlook For People With Heart Palpitations At Night
Most people with heart palpitations at night dont require treatment. If palpitations happen from time to time, they arent usually dangerous. Many people find relief from heart palpitations at night after making changes to their diet or lifestyle. These changes may include avoiding alcohol and managing stress.
If you have heart palpitations that result from a heart problem, thyroid disease or other health condition, talk to your provider about your prognosis. To relieve your symptoms, your provider will treat the condition thats causing them.
Don’t Miss: Can Benadryl Cause Arrhythmias
Why Are Changes In Blood Pressure A Problem
A fall in blood pressure decreases your cardiac output, the amount of blood pumped around the body by the heart per minute . A decreased blood pressure also makes it harder for the body to cool down, as decreased blood flow to the skin can decrease sweat rates . In extreme cases, a decreased sweat rate can increase your body temperature to the point that it causes heat stroke. If allowed to drop far enough, decrease in blood pressure can even lead to shock, and sometimes organ damage.
How To Monitor Menopausal Symptoms Collect Info To Share With Your Doctor
Self-monitoring and keeping track of your heart palpitations along with your other menopause symptoms can help you be clear when you talk to your provider about heart palpitations, says Carpenter.
- Pay attention to the time of month and time of day that they are occurring. Make a note of anything that seems to bring it on, such as exercise, smoking, or drinking.
- Track your other menopause symptoms as well, Carpenter suggests. If youre under a lot of stress or having insomnia, that could influence the palpitations, she says.
- If youre still having your period, track your cycle. Your hormones may be influencing when you experience the palpitations.
- If youre concerned about the palpitations, make sure you contact your healthcare provider right away and advocate for yourself.
Also Check: How Long Does Surgically Induced Menopause Last
Also Check: Can Dehydration Cause Increased Heart Rate
Can Sleep Apnea Cause An Irregular Heartbeat
There are numerous people who complain about waking up with a fast-beating heart. While some think this isnt anything to worry about, there are studies that link waking up with an irregular heartbeat to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a very common sleeping disorder that is very alarming. In fact, a report by the National Sleep Foundation said that there are over 18 million adults in America that are diagnosed with this condition. Also, that it can be found in all age groups and for both sexes. The report also shows that a minimum of 3% of children are suspected of having sleep apnea and even up to 20% of children who snore have a higher chance of getting the condition.
Donât Miss: Who Invented Breathe Right Strips
Making Existing Heart Disease Worse
An underactive thyroid makes bodily functions inefficient and will have a direct effect on muscular function and aerobic capacity so its not difficult to see how it can have a negative impact on those with heart problems.
If you already have high blood pressure which has in turn caused narrows arteries, the combination of a quicker, more forceful heartbeat caused by hyperthyroidism can cause angina.
In 2015 a large study which looked at almost 15,000 people, revealed that those with congestive heart failure were at significantly increased risk of death if they also had hypothyroidism. The lead author of the study Connie Rhee, MD, of Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston said
In heart failure patients, we found that both hypothyroidism overall and subclinical hypothyroidism increased the risk of death,To view the study please click here
Why would this be? Well of course heart patients are already vulnerable but moreover heart failure is the inevitable conclusion of multiple stresses which have negatively impacted heart function. This can come about through low or high levels of thyroid hormone
You May Like: Thyroid Facial Swelling
Don’t Miss: Does Tylenol Raise Your Blood Pressure
Hormones And Irregular Heart Beats
Estrogen and progesterone levels rise and fall in women with a normal menstrual cycle during the days of the month. The rise of progesterone and the fall of estrogen correspond with:
- More frequent episodes of supraventricular tachycardia
- More symptoms associated with SVT
- SVT of longer duration¹
During perimenopause , there is a marked decrease in ovarian estrogen production. This is associated with an increase in heart rate and an increased frequency in palpitations and non-threatening arrhythmias, such as premature ventricular contractions or PVCs.
Menopause causes a further decline in estrogen as the menstrual cycle stops. This time period is associated with irregular heart beats, palpitations, spasmodic chest pain and nightmares in women 40 -64 years old².
The Heart and Estrogen/Progestin Replacement Study found no benefit in the use of hormone replacement therapy to reduce cardiovascular events, and hormone replacement therapy may even increase the risk of thromboembolism during the first year³. HRT is also associated with lengthening the QT interval , although the relevance of this finding is not known. On the other hand, HRT may decrease palpitations and other symptoms such as hot flashes, insomnia, and sweating. Therefore, it may be considered a treatment option in low risk female patients to relieve symptoms of palpitations.
Looking Out For The Telltale Signs
AFib is notoriously tricky to diagnose on your own, but there are some signs that can help you tell panic attacks and AFib episodes apart. Its important to keep in mind that the two syndromes stem from different sources: AFib is an electrical disorder that sends a mess of signals through the chambers of the heart, but a panic attack typically wont have a physical cause. Rather, its triggered by events in your environment, stressful situations, or sometimes happens for no apparent reason at all.
Here are a few markers that can help you tell the conditions apart:
Rate of decline. Pay attention to the rate of building and declining symptoms. Since AFib is triggered by a sudden physical event , AFib episodes typically hit suddenly. When the episode subsides, so will the symptoms, but the cycle tends to repeat until treatment is administered. With a panic attack, heart rate can start to creep up as other discomforts manifest, and after the attack hits a peak, heart rate will gradually return to normal as the other symptoms dissipate.
Nature of the heartbeat. The pattern or rhythm of a heart beat can also tell you whats going on: a panic attack typically brings a constant rapid heart rate, while AFib causes an erratic heart rate. If your heart seems to be skipping beats, or speeding up then slowing down and speeding up again, its more likely that AFib is to blame.
Recommended Reading: What Causes Left Sided Heart Failure
What Is Considered A Fast Heart Rate
The definition of a fast heart rate differs depending on the age of the person experiencing it. Typically, it is defined as have a resting heart rate faster than 100 beats per minute for adults.
A fast heart rate is one that is unexpected for a certain level of physical activity. Usually, most adults resting heart rate usually lies in the range of 60-80 beats per minute, with some heart rates approaching 100 beats per minute.
How Do I Manage Heart Palpitations At Night
Most of the time, heart palpitations at night dont require treatment, especially if they only happen occasionally. You may be able to relieve heart palpitations at night yourself. If your heart is racing at night, you should:
- Breathe deeply: Try pursed lip breathing techniques, which involve long, deep breaths. You can also meditate and try other relaxation techniques to reduce stress.
- Drink a glass of water: If youre dehydrated, your heart has to work harder to pump blood.
- Roll over or get up and walk around: A change of position might be all you need to relieve heart palpitations. Try rolling over in bed, sitting up or going for a short walk around the room while taking deep breaths.
If a health condition is causing palpitations, your provider will treat the condition. Treatments vary depending on the cause. Sometimes, providers prescribe a type of medicine called beta blockers to treat palpitations. These medications slow the heart rate and reduce palpitations.
You May Like: Dehydration Increased Heart Rate
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.
Further Testing For Heart Palpitations
In most cases, we see patients in the emergency department whose palpitations have either gone away or arent critical by the time they arrive. Like a car problem that clears up when you visit the mechanic, this can be frustrating for patients.
We reassure them that just because we dont see an abnormal heart rhythm now doesnt mean that they didnt have one before. We check for any signs of damage or injury, and we may monitor patients for a few hours at the emergency department to see if they have another episode of palpitions, but there may not be enough time to capture an abnormal heart rhythm that comes and goes.
We often refer patients who have had heart palpitations to a cardiologist in the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute. For example, we might diagnose an abnormal heart rhythm in the emergency department, but its not something that needs emergency treatment. Or we might not see evidence of an abnormal heart rhythm, but we think the patient could benefit from additional monitoring to rule out possible heart problems.
A normal heartbeat is easy to take for granted. So when we feel heart palpitations, it can be very scary. But with quick medical attention and advanced monitoring, your heart can beat steadily for a long time to come.
To learn more about heart palpitations, please visit .
You May Like: What Happens After A Massive Heart Attack