One of the most common issues that individuals experience and often ignore is heart palpitations. Heart palpitations primarily refer to the feeling of having a heart that beats fast and irregularly. People often describe it as experiencing a fluttering or pounding sensation. Several different causes can initiate palpitations. These causes include stress, exercise, medication, or an external medical condition that can trigger.
In most cases, these palpitations are usually harmless, but at certain times they can be symptoms of a more serious heart condition known as an arrhythmia that might require treatment.
When Should You Start Worrying About Palpitations?
If you rarely experience these palpitations, and even when they occur, they only last a few minutes, you don’t need to see a doctor. Though it can be a terrifying experience, stress, and exercise-induced palpitations are very common. However, if they become increasingly frequent, you should probably consider seeing a doctor.
Palpitations can last for different periods in different individuals.
The most common are palpitations that lost close to 30-minutes.
However, certain people will experience heart palpitations lasting for hours. These can be extremely worrying and may be caused by a disease known as atrial fibrillation.
In certain extreme cases, the individual might experience heart palpitations for days or weeks.
Under these circumstances, you must seek medical health as soon as possible. While there aren’t many reported cases of individuals suffering from heart palpitations for months, it certainly isn’t without the realms of possibility. If certain conditions are left entirely untreated, they could result in heart palpitations for months. It’s vital that you learn to identify palpitations symptoms so you can determine if you need to visit a doctor immediately.
Additionally, if the palpitations are accompanied by chest pain, fainting, dizziness, or severe shortness of breath, you should seek emergency medical attention.
Symptoms of Palpitations
One of the most exciting things about these palpitations is that symptoms will differentiate between people. There’s a possibility that you will hear people describe palpitation in several different ways.
Among the most common ways people describe feelings, the palpitations feel like their heart is fluttering. It’s a sensation that’s similar to your heart skipping a beat. Others might describe it as the heart rate rapidly increasing.
Individuals will feel that their heart is beating faster than average and attribute that as palpitations.
Similarly, another sensation that individuals feel during palpitations is the heart beating irregularly. Our heart tends to beat on a set pattern, so we don’t seem to notice our heartbeat. However, during palpitations, that pattern becomes irregular, and you can feel the difference significantly.
As a result, doctors tend to categorize palpitations as becoming aware of your heartbeat. The logic behind this is that palpitations may cause various symptoms in individuals, but the one common theme is that the individual becomes acutely aware of their heartbeat. Some patients even report feeling their pulse in other parts of the body like the neck.
While certain people can explicitly feel these symptoms, there’s a variety of people that don’t notice them.
The only feeling that they get is a general sense of unease like something’s stressing them out.
Other symptoms might include dizziness, feeling lightheaded, and suffering from shortness of breath.
What Cause Palpitations?
Palpitations are scary because they seemingly occur right of the blue, and often go away just as quickly. However, with improving research, we’ve been able to identify specific activities that significantly increase the chance of triggering palpitations.
These risk factors include stress, anxiety, dehydration, low potassium, low blood sugar, too much caffeine, or a fever.
When an individual is experiencing stress, their body is prone to releasing adrenaline as a response. The extra amount of adrenaline in your system can cause an increase in the heart rate. Additionally, most people don’t realize, that caffeine’s excessive consumption can be a severe trigger to palpitations, notably, in those people that suffer from certain underlying conditions.
These medical conditions include heart disease, anemia, or hyperthyroidism.
Among the most common heart diseases that are linked with palpitations are atrial fibrillation and Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome.
Moreover, another probable cause for palpitations could be the use of certain medications.
Drugs that contain cocaine or amphetamines are going to cause palpitations. Additionally, some cough remedies and antibiotics may also cause these palpitations.
Diagnosing Heart Palpitations
One particular feature that makes palpitations so hard to diagnose is the fact they come and go. When you’re at the doctor’s office, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll experience an episode that’ll help the doctor understand why you’re having palpitations. Even if your heart palpitations were lasting hours before the visit.
Which makes it imperative that individuals are looking to visit the doctor to keep track of certain things. Firstly, when suffering from palpitations, one should check their pulse to identify whether the heart’s rhythm is fast or slow. Additionally, it also helps to check if the heartbeat is following an irregular pattern. It also aids the doctor if the patient has more knowledge of when these palpitations occur.
Even without this extensive knowledge, going to a doctor for your palpitations is the correct way to proceed. The doctor might identify any potential causes for these palpitations by listening for a murmur in the heart. Additionally, they might also order blood tests if the doctor suspects a thyroid imbalance, low potassium, or anemia.
Another tool that’s often used for evaluating individuals suffering from palpitations is an electrocardiogram (ECG). Which you can monitor on your own with ECG devices and the help of your smartphone. They capture abnormal information from your heart and evaluate your normal heart rate and heart rhythm trend.
How to Stop Heart Palpitations?
If you seem to be suffering from unexplained palpitations, there are several things you can use to stop them from occurring.
If you’re suffering from palpitations, you should quit smoking and reduce the amount of alcohol you consume. The ideal practice would be to stop drinking entirely and ensure that you eat meals regularly. Drink a lot of water throughout the day, and get more sleep.
This is a technique that’ll come in handy when you’re feeling anxious or stressed out. Move to a quiet area and close your eyes. Place your hand on your abdomen and breathe in slowly through your nose. It would be best if you placed your hand so you can feel your stomach move. The next step is to exhale through your nose or mouth.
The Valsalva maneuver is a more immediate measure of stopping palpitations while they occur. Pinch your nose close with your fingers, and close your mouth. After this, you must try to breathe out forcibly through your nose.
Splash your face with cold water as it’ll help stimulate the vagus nerve, which helps control the heart rate.
No matter if your heart palpitations are lasting hours or weeks, you must consult the issue with your doctor once. If you’re experiencing shortness of breath, chest pain, or dizziness along with palpitations, you should visit the emergency room and seek immediate medical attention!