How We Can Help Reduce The Palpitations
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Sign: You Feel Like Somethings Not Right
Dr. Zeitler advises following your intuitionif you feel like your heart is beating strangely, its best to get it checked out. Its one of those situations where you have to listen to your body, she says. If it feels like youre dying or you might die, or you pass out or you have an accident because youre passing out, those are reasons to seek attention in an emergency room. Otherwise, you can generally wait to see your primary care doctor, which would be a really good first step. Your primary care doctor can decide when the right time is to refer you to a cardiologist or a heart rhythm specialist. Youll want to know about these 30 ways to prevent heart disease and stroke.
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.
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Sign: Youre Getting Older
Like many conditions, palpitations may be more common, and more serious, in older people. Another common problem that occurs with age is the wearing out of the normal heart electrical system, Dr. Hodgson-Zingman says. This can cause pauses or irregularity in the heart rhythm and may be a sign that you need a pacemaker. Also, some types of heart rhythm disorders are more common as you age. Atrial fibrillation occurs in like 20 percent of people over the age of 80, and its increasingly common as we get older, Dr. Zeitler says. According to the CDC, 9 percent of people over 65 have it.
What Do People Mean By Sudden Death
Sudden death is used to describe a situation in which a patient loses cardiac function and essentially will die within minutes if assistance is not provided. By assistance, I mean cardiopulmonary resuscitation and frequently, electrical cardioversion to restore the heart rhythm to normal. Obviously, patients where these efforts are successful will require extensive evaluation to determine the cause of cardiac arrest and to prevent it from occurring in the future.
The internal defibrillator devices that have become commonplace in the care of these types of patients have proven to be very effective in preventing death from heart arrhythmias in patients who have already had one or more episode of attempted sudden death.
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Drink Plenty Of Water
We can look at water. Remember, dehydration will cause all sorts of things, so get plenty of water into your system on a regular basis. And some women find that if they feel the palpitations coming on, if they get into that situation where they go, “Oh, here we go,” that drinking some water at the very start of it can help to reduce its impact on you as well.
Heart Palpitations And Anxiety
Heart palpitations sometimes can be caused by extreme anxiety, rather than a heart condition. That might lead to a patient needing treatment for a possible anxiety disorder from a psychiatrist.
But we still have to make sure patients are checked out by a cardiologist for any possible heart problems first. We do have some patients who have been diagnosed before with anxiety and know thats whats happening. For the majority of patients, however, we dont want to label their condition as an anxiety attack before knowing for sure that there isnt a heart problem we need to address.
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What Are The Risk Factors For Pmdd
While any woman can develop PMDD, the following may be at increased risk:
- Women with a family history of PMS or PMDD
- Women with a personal or family history of depression, postpartum depression, or other mood disorders
Other possible risk factors include lower education and cigarette smoking
Talk with your healthcare provider for more information.
A Fast But Regular Heartbeat
There are many reasons why the heart rate can be faster than normal. Some of these are:
- In other cases, you may need a test of your heart while you exercise.
- Electrophysiology tests may also be used. Small wires are inserted into your heart via one of your veins. These wires measure the electrical signals in your heart and can determine where any abnormal electrical signals are coming from.
All these tests are to make sure there is no abnormality in your heart causing the palpitations. However in many cases, palpitations are NOT caused by any problem with your heart.
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What Causes Heart Palpitations In Menopause
As with most things menopausal, estrogen is believed to play a role in heart palpitations. Before menopause, estrogen may have heart-protective qualities including keeping arteries flexible. When levels decline that protection declines, too, and reduced blood flow can cause arrhythmia . Lower levels of estrogen can also lead to an overstimulation of the heart. More commonly the palpitations are a normal rhythm, just fast, and are associated with mild anxiety, a hot flash, or just all by themselves.
Unfortunately, little is known about menopause-related heart irregularities, but research like the Menopause StrategiesFinding Lasting Answers for Symptoms and Health multi-center study is beginning to offer some clues.
Sometimes Though Palpitations Might Signal Something More Serious
For example, these impulses go offbeat due to arrhythmias, which are basically short circuits in your hearts electrical system, the NHLBI explains. Arrhythmias can make your heart beat irregularly and feel strange, along with causing weakness, dizziness, feeling light-headed, fainting, shortness of breath, and chest pain, among other symptoms, according to the NHLBI.
While arrhythmias often arent dangerous and can be treated in many ways, sometimes they can be life-threatening. Only a doctor can tell you for sure, but any symptoms besides the strange heart sensations are typically a clue that your arrhythmia may be more serious, says the NHLBI. If you think youre experiencing any strange symptoms along with your heart palpitations, seek medical attention immediately.
Other times, the Mayo Clinic notes, heart palpitations can be a sign that somethings up with a different organ, like your thyroid gland. Your thyroid produces hormones like thyroxine and triiodothyronine, which influence many of your bodys systems, according to the Mayo Clinic. If your thyroid is on overdrive , it will generate too much thyroxine, which kicks up your bodys metabolism. This can lead to a rapid or irregular heartbeat, along with symptoms like an increased appetite and sudden weight loss.
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Preparing For An Appointment
If you have heart palpitations with severe shortness of breath, chest pain or fainting, seek emergency medical attention. If your palpitations are brief and there are no other worrisome signs or symptoms, make an appointment to see your doctor. Your doctor can help you find out if your palpitations are harmless or a symptom of a more serious heart condition.
Here’s some information to help you get ready for your appointment:
What Causes Heart Flutters
Palpitations can appear out of the blue and disappear just as suddenly. They can be linked with certain activities, events, or emotions. Some people notice their heart skipping a beat when they are drifting off to sleep others, when they stand up after bending over. Palpitations can be triggered by:
- stress, anxiety, or panic
- too much caffeine, chocolate, or alcohol
People with certain medical conditions, such as heart disease, anemia, and an overactive thyroid gland are more likely to experience palpitations. Palpitations can be related to drugs and medications such as cocaine, amphetamines, diet pills, some cough and cold remedies, some antibiotics, thyroid hormone, digoxin, or asthma remedies.
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Lifestyle And Home Remedies
The most appropriate way to treat palpitations at home is to avoid the triggers that cause your symptoms.
- Reduce stress. Try relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga or deep breathing.
- Avoid stimulants. Caffeine, nicotine, some cold medicines and energy drinks can make your heart beat quickly or irregularly.
- Avoid illegal drugs. Certain drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines, can bring on heart palpitations.
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Deep Breathing for Immediate Relaxation
Exercise for better heart healthWhat treatments are available?Nutritional interventionsPharmacological treatments:Beta blockersAnti-arrhythmic drugsCalcium channel blockersCatheter AblationJust remember, donât panic!
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What’s Causing Your Heart Palpitations
Women in perimenopause often report episodes of heart palpitations an irregular heartbeat or pounding pulse that may make them feel their heart is going to jump right out of their chest.
The heart palpitations have slowly gone away. The hot flashes have decreased to a manageable level. I am happier, more energetic, and finally sleeping really well.
Sometimes heart palpitations are accompanied by hot flashes or anxiety, but often not. In many cases the women who suffer these symptoms are understandably worried, and may even be frustrated with the response of their conventional doctor. Heres what we recommend.
How Are Arrhythmias Diagnosed
If you have symptoms of an arrhythmia, you should make an appointment with a cardiologist. You may want to choose an electrophysiologist, a cardiologist who has received additional specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders.
After evaluating your medical history and discussing your symptoms, a physical exam will be performed. The cardiologist also may perform a variety of diagnostic tests to help confirm the presence of an arrhythmia and determine its causes.
Some tests that may be done to confirm the presence of an irregular heart rhythm include:
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Sign: Youve Had Palpitations For A Long Time
Another reason palpitations can be dangerous is that they can weaken the heart muscle. Heart rhythm abnormalities, if they remain untreated and persist for weeks to months, can result in the heart muscle becoming weak, which is called cardiomyopathy, Dr. Hodgson-Zingman says. Fortunately, this form of cardiomyopathy is often completely reversible once the heart rhythm disorder is corrected. In addition, even less dangerous conditions like AFib can have long-term consequences. This rhythm is not fatal, but it is associated with a much higher risk of stroke and can cause cardiomyopathy if not recognized and treated, she says. Discover the 12 heart health breakthroughs that could save your life.
Potential Causes Of Your Heart Palpitations
Now that we have a better understanding about what heart palpitations are and why they seem to occur more at night, lets take a look at some of the potential causes. In most cases, heart palpitations on their own arent usually serious and are often caused by:
- Stress and anxiety
- Certain medications
In more serious cases, you may have a heart rhythm disorder such as atrial fibrillation, which affects approximately 2.7 million people in the United States. With this condition, the two upper chambers of your heart your atria beat irregularly, upsetting the rhythm of your heart.
Atrial fibrillation can lead to serious complications like blood clots, so we need to monitor the condition closely.
In order to figure out whats making your heart race at night, we urge you to come in for a full evaluation, even if its just for your peace of mind. For example, if we find that stress or anxiety is behind nighttime racing, you can take action through relaxation exercises.
If we do find an electrical or structural problem in your heart, that diagnosis is key in helping us move forward and find you the best treatment options for your racing heart.
To figure out whats causing your heart to race at night, please contact our office in Little Rock, Arkansas, to set up an appointment. We also offer telehealth visits.
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What Should I Do If My 9
The same types of recommendations apply to children and in the vast majority of children, the causes of skipped beats are usually benign and do not require treatment. They should not be ignored, however, as electrical or structural abnormalities of the heart need to be ruled out.
If a child simply notices an occasional “skipped beat” and is otherwise healthy and keeps up with their friends on the playground, it’s unlikely that anything serious is going on.
What Causes Heart Palpitations
At midlife our hearts and bodies often become increasingly sensitive to those things that dont serve us, including caffeine, refined carbohydrates, aspartame, alcohol, or monosodium glutamate, all of which may overstimulate our hearts. You also might need to avoid scary, violent, or emotionally draining news, movies, books, or individuals. Your heart may also be telling you its time to pay attention to your deepest desires or what your heart is longing to express.
The following letter from Terri, one of my e-letter subscribers, is typical of how midlife heart palpitations are often present.
I am a forty-eight-year-old female with no major health problems. I do not take any prescription medicine. I walk five times a week and go to the gym about twice a week to do some light weight lifting. My periods are still fairly regular. I have a fairly healthy diet, although it could be better. I drink about a cup of coffee a day, but usually dont drink soft drinks. About a month ago, after a fatty fast-food meal and a large cup of coffee in the early evening, I started experiencing heart irregularities. I felt like my heart was skipping a beat and was going to beat out of my chest!
I would really like to avoid taking heart medications. However, these heart palpitations can interrupt my sleep and are very uncomfortable. Are these palpitations hormonally related?
Adapted with permission fromThe Wisdom of Menopause .
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Management Of Irregular Heart Rhythms In Women
Treatment options include:
Medications antiarrhythmic drugs are medications used to convert the arrhythmia to normal sinus rhythm or to prevent arrhythmia. Other medications may include heart-rate control drugs anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs such as warfarin or aspirin, which reduce the risk of blood clots or stroke.
Concerns for women: Because women have a longer QT interval than men. some medications that are used in men to treat irregular heart rhythms prolong the QT interval even more. These medications include Quinidine, Sotalol, Dofetilide, and Amiodarone. These medications may increase a woman’s risk of developing a life-threatening arrhythmia more than in men who take these medications. Women who take these medications should follow their doctors and dietitians dietary guidelines for potassium and avoid becoming low in potassium, which enhances the arrhythmia affect¹.
The biggest concern for all patients with atrial fibrillation is preventing blood clots or stroke. Warfarin is most often used to prevent strokes in patients. According to The Canadian Registry of Atrial Fibrillation , women were half as likely to be prescribed warfarin as compared to men, although they would benefit from it as much².
Lifestyle changes arrhythmias may be related to certain lifestyle factors. Here are some ways to change these factors:
Diagnosing Heart Palpitations With Severe Symptoms
If the patients symptoms are more severe, such as significant lightheadedness or loss of consciousness associated with palpitations, a more comprehensive evaluation is warranted. That type of evaluation might well involve an ultrasound of the heart, a treadmill test, more sophisticated blood tests including thyroid tests, and an ambulatory EKG or Holter monitor. Some patients may require invasive studies if a serious heart condition is suspected to underlie the symptom of palpitations.
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Sign: Youve Had A Heart Attack
Heart muscle damaged from a heart attack will have scarring, and that can also predispose you to the extra contractions of ventricular tachycardia, he says. Dr. Zeitler says such patients should be treated immediately. I would be more aggressive in making a diagnosis and treating with either medications, procedures, or with an implantable defibrillator, she says. Dr. Hodgson-Zingman says heart disease patients should be evaluated and monitored for rhythm abnormalities regularly. These are the 12 things you must do after a heart attack scare.
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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