The most common substance associated with palpitations is caffeine. Frequently reducing or eliminating beverages that contain caffeine such as coffee or soda can improve palpitations. There have been many patients have palpitations when they eat too much chocolate, and some patients respond with palpitations around the holiday when they tend to drink too much alcohol, particularly red wine. In terms of over-the-counter medications, cold and allergy remedies often can precipitate palpitations. Frequently, palpitations occur without any obvious precipitating factor, although fatigue and getting behind on your sleep also cause palpitations to occur or worsen.
Palpitations may be brought on by overexertion, adrenaline, alcohol, disease (such as hyperthyroidism) or drugs, or as a symptom of panic disorder. It can also happen in mitral stenosis. Palpitations may be associated with heart problems, but also with anemias and thyroid malfunction. Some persons with palpitations have no heart disease or abnormal heart rhythms and the reasons for their palpitations are unknown.
Attacks can last for a few seconds or hours, and may occur very infrequently, or more than daily. Palpitations alongside other symptoms, including sweating, faintness, chest pain or dizziness, indicate irregular or poor heart function and this should be taken seriously. If other symptoms do not accompany palpitations, then other causes (listed above) may be the reason. Palpitations may also be associated with anxiety and panic attacks, in which case psychological assessment is recommended. Heart palpitations is also a common disorder associated with a lot of common medications such as anti-depressants.
Normally the heart beats between 60-100 times per minute. In people who exercise routinely or take medications that slow the heart, the rate may drop below 55 beats per minute. If your heart rate is very fast (over 100 beats per minute), this is called tachycardia. An unusually slow heart rate is called bradycardia. An occasional extra heart beat is known as extrasystole.
Palpitations are often not serious. However, it depends on whether or not the sensations represent an abnormal heart rhythm ( arrhythmia). You are more likely to have an abnormal heart rhythm if you have:
*Known heart disease at the time the palpitations begin
*Significant risk factors for heart disease
*An abnormal heart valve
*An electrolyte abnormality -- for example, low potassium
Reducing stress and anxiety can help lessen the frequency or intensity of your heart palpitations. Try breathing exercises or deep relaxation (a step-by-step process of tensing and then relaxing every muscle group in your body) when palpitations occur. Practicing yoga or tai chi on a regular basis can reduce the frequency of your palpitations.
Keep a record of how often you have palpitations, when they happen, how long they last, your heart rate at the time of the palpitations, and what you are feeling at the time. This information may help your doctor figure out both their seriousness and their underlying cause.
Once a serious cause has been ruled out by your doctor, try NOT to pay attention to heart palpitations, unless you notice a sudden increase or a change in them.
I hope that this has been helpful to you.
Peace and Blessings
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