Heart Palpitations, Causes, Symptoms, And Treatments
Heart palpitations can cause light pounding, flutters, or skipped beats and they may or may not signal a serious disease. Knowing the symptoms and your health history will help you decide whether or not to call your doctor.
Heart Palpitations: Stress
Stress is the catalyst for many illnesses and heart problems is one of them. Intense emotions can trigger the release of hormones that speed up your heartbeat. Your body gets ready to face a threat, even if you’re not in danger. Panic attacks are intense bouts of fear that can last a few minutes. Symptoms include a racing heart, sweating, chills, trouble breathing, and chest pain. A panic attack can feel like a heart attack. If you’re not sure which one you’re having, get medical help.
Heart Palpitations: Caffeine
Caffeine has many positive health benefits but can also cause health trouble. For example, too many cups during the day, or very string coffee can lead to heart issues. Caffeine is a stimulant that raises your heart rate. One study found that caffeine from coffee, tea, might trigger palpitationsthem in people with heart rhythm problems.
Heart Palpitations: Nicotine
The addictive chemical in cigarettes and other tobacco products, nicotine raises your blood pressure and speeds up your heart rate. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your heart. Also, patches and other nicotine replacement products can make your heart race. Palpitations can also be a symptom of nicotine withdrawal, but they should stop within 3 to 4 weeks after you quit.
Heart Palpitations: Fever
When you have a fever during an illness, your body uses energy at a faster pace than usual. This can set off palpitations. Usually your temperature needs to be above 100.4 F to affect your heart rate.
Heart Palpitations: Medicines
Some prescription and over-the-counter medicines cause palpitations as a side effect, including:
- Antifungal medicines
- Antipsychotic drugs
- Asthma inhalers
- Cough and cold medicines
- Diet pills
- High blood pressure medicines
- Thyroid pills
Heart Palpitations: Low Blood Sugar
Skipped a meal can also lead to palpitations. When your blood sugar level drops, your body releases stress hormones like adrenaline to prepare for an emergency food shortage. Adrenaline speeds up your heart rate.
Heart Palpitations: Overactive Thyroid Gland
An overactive thyroid (called hyperthyroidism) can make too much thyroid hormone. This speeds up your heart so much that you feel it beating in your chest. Taking too much thyroid hormone to treat an underactive thyroid gland (called hypothyroidism) will also rev up your heartbeat.
Heart Palpitations: Heart Rhythm Problems
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) happens when the heart’s upper chambers, called the atria, flutter instead of beating normally. This can signal serious heart issues that can eventually lead to a stroke or heart attack. Get it checked out fast.
Heart Palpitations: Alcohol
Alcohol can affect your heart. If you drink a lot, or just have more than usual, you might feel your heart beating faster or fluttering. Small amounts of alcohol may also trigger heart flutters even when they only drink a little bit.
Heart Palpitations: See A Doctor
Make a doctor’s appointment if they come more often or you also have symptoms like these:
- Chest pain or pressure
- Shortness of breath