The heart skipping a beat is romantic in literature and movies. However, in the literal sense, if your heart does it too often, it could indicate a serious health issue. Heart palpitations are experienced as the sensation of hearing your own heartbeat. You could feel your pulse racing and the heart pounding against the chest wall.
Often these palpitations are harmless but at times they could be a symptom of an underlying disease.
Causes Of Heart Palpitations
Most of the causes of heart palpitations involve a surge in adrenaline levels in your body.1
1. Episodes Of Severe Anxiety And Stress
It’s absolutely natural to feel once heart racing in situations that involve a great deal of fear, rage, or stress. If you think your life has a lot of situations, it’s high time you realize that persistent stress can eventually lead to heart disease. Practice stress relaxation techniques like deep breathing and yoga to overcome the emotions you are experiencing.
2. Rigorous Physical Activity
People who exercise regularly seldom complain of palpitations. But any form of moderate to intense physical activity can increase adrenaline levels in the body. This is the reason why you feel your heart pounding after a good run or swim. This is temporary and your heart rate returns to normal when the adrenaline decreases.
3. Excessive Intake Of Caffeine Or Nicotine
Having more than 2-3 cups of caffeinated beverages can lead to caffeine overdose which is marked by heart palpitations among other symptoms. As far as smoking is concerned, nicotine stimulates the electrical conducting system of your heart leading to palpitations.
4. Severe Allergic Reactions
Exposure to allergens like dust, pollen, food or even insect bite can cause allergies in many. The intensity of the allergy should be watched for. Severe allergic responses present as racing heart rate, wheezing, choking and extreme skin irritation. In such a situation, emergency medical attention is needed as it’s an anaphylaxis attack. If left untreated, it could prove to be fatal.
5. High Fever And Dehydration
If you are running a fever of more than 38 degrees, you could feel your heart pounding against the chest. It’s frequently seen in viral infections like flu, dengue and many more. If you are dehydrated due to vomiting and diarrhea during the fever, the chances of experiencing palpitations are higher.
6. Hormonal Changes
Many women feel their bodies undergo a world of changes during pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause. This is due to erratic levels of estrogen and testosterone in their bodies. Palpitations at night are one such discomforting change they experience. Lifestyle changes that revolve around achieving hormonal balance can be helpful for them.
7. Medications That Spike Adrenaline
Specific medicines for cold and cough, inhalers for asthma can stimulate the release of adrenaline. Heart palpitations are experienced as a side effect by many who consume the above medicines.
When an increased levels of thyroxine hormone are released by the thyroid gland, it stimulates the heart to pump quicker and stronger. This could be felt as an unpleasant awareness of one’s heart beat. This is particularly seen in hyperthyroid individuals. Therefore, it’s best to avoid stimulants that can spike your heart rate if you are already having hyperthyroidism.
9. Low Blood Sugar Levels
Skipping meals or staying hungry for long durations or even stress can lower your blood sugar levels. In such a situation the body releases stress hormone epinephrine that causes shakiness, uneasiness and heart palpitations.
10. Full-Fledged Heart Disease
Irregular or abnormal heartbeat which is combined with dizziness is a distinct sign of heart disease. These conditions often arise due to a block in the coronary arteries and resultant heart failure.
It’s important to be aware of the causes of palpitations. If you experience them frequently or in association with symptoms like fever, seek medical attention immediately.2
|↑1||Skipping a beat — the surprise of heart palpitations. Harvad Health Publications.|
|↑2||When to Evaluate Heart Palpitations. Heart & Vascular Institute.|