Diagnosis, Healthcare, Heart Health, Heart Palpitations

5 Ways GERD and Heart Palpitations Go Hand in Hand

We all have experienced heart palpitations at some point in our lives. Caused by extreme emotions such as stress, fear, and even happiness, heart palpitations are not uncommon at all. They are rarely a sign of a more serious health issue, although that may be the case as well. Also, GERD palpitations are not uncommon. Their combination is another common health issue – GERD.

GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. A condition that causes acid and other stomach contents to move up the esophagus. 

Now, although GERD does not directly cause heart palpitations, certain factors contribute to both its and the occurrence of heart palpitations at the same time. GERD can also be easily mistaken for heart palpitations, and here is why.

5 Ways in Which GERD and Heart Palpitations Can Be Linked

Heart palpitations, although a mild issue most of the time, can also be caused by an underlying health problem as well. Heart disease is one of example. This is also an example of a health issue that needs to be treated as soon as possible.

Often, people fail to recognize their heart palpitations and mistake them for GERD. GERD can cause tightness in the chest to take place. Although heart palpitations can also cause chest tightness, this is not the same. Heart palpitations cause a characteristic flittering sensation of the heart accompanied by a racing heart rate. Your heart may even skip or add a beat. But such symptoms cannot be caused by GERD. 

There are, however, a few factors that contribute to both the development of GERD and heart palpitations at the same time. Here are 5 of those factors that you need to know about.

1. Bad eating habits

Speaking of GERD, it is a well-known fact that certain foods and drinks trigger their symptoms. For example, alcohol and caffeine intake, but also the intake of spicy food, can trigger GERD. Coincidentally enough, alcohol and caffeine can also trigger heart palpations. Especially when they are introduced in excessive amounts. 

The reduced intake of caffeine and alcohol can reflect positively, relieving both the symptoms of GERD and heart palpitations.

Ask your doctor for more tips regarding your diet that he/she can recommend. 

2. Obesity

Obesity is yet another factor that can contribute to both heart palpations and GERD. It is thought that the excess belly fat is what is causing pressure on the stomach, hence causing GERD. Research also shows that obese individuals have a 50% higher risk of one of the most common type arrhythmias called AFib. Obese individuals who are experiencing a racing or fluttering heart are advised to consult their doctor right away. Additionally, we advise using heart monitoring devices and your smart devices which allow you to monitor your heart rate daily and share your results with doctors anywhere anytime. Thereby, individuals can evaluate normal heart rate and heart rhythm trends to detect problems and increase the chances to solve them.

3. Diabetes

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are considered to be risk factors for GERD. In those with diabetes type 1, the risk comes from the nerve damage caused by inadequate glycemic control. For people with diabetes type 2, the biggest risk factor for GERD, and with that for heart palpitations as well, is obesity. 

It is also worth mentioning that diabetics with AFib also have a lower quality of life. They are also exposed to a greater risk of death and hospitalization. Luckily, the risks seem to decrease once diabetes has been properly managed. 

4. High blood pressure

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology showed that GERD and high blood pressure are closely linked.

There are several factors, such as alcohol consummation and obesity, that link these two conditions with one another.

The good news is that the anti-acid drugs used to relieve GERD could potentially lower high blood pressure as well. 

High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease. In return, heart palpitations may be caused by underlying heart disease. Especially ischemic heart disease. In case it is high blood pressure that is causing GERD, it can also contribute to cause heart disease at the same time, hence causing heart palpitations. 

5. Medications used to treat heart problems

Other than alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods, certain medications can also make your GERD worse. Because of the irritation to the lining of the esophagus that they cause, these medications trigger GERD. Calcium channel blockers, statins, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and nitrates are some of these medications

All of them are commonly used to treat various heart issues and the heart palpations that they may be causing. If you are using any of these medications and experience GERD, do notify your doctor. There are some relief methods and other medications that you can try out as well.

It is also worth mentioning that people with GERD tend to struggle with anxiety. In return, anxiety may be the cause of heart palpitations. This means that GERD can be the cause of heart palpitations, although being an indirect cause. 


GERD is a common digestive disorder that causes the stomach contents, especially acid, to move towards the esophagus. It can affect people of all ages, and it can be rather tricky to treat. The majority of people with GERD avoid known triggers and maintain a healthy diet to prevent GERD from happening in the future. 

Unfortunately, GERD can be an indirect cause of a much more serious issue known as heart palpitations. Often, the factors that lead to GERD also contribute to the development of heart palpitations. If you experience fluttering and a racing heartbeat contact a doctor as soon as possible.

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