About Heart Palpitations

Not all heart palpitations are alike. Some may be mild and attributed to non-cardiac problems while others can be much more severe and life threatening, such as when it is due to a heart failure. But before you become overly concerned about heart palpitations, you may want to learn more about it. You can find out all about heart palpitations or any irregular, fast, slow, skipped heartbeat, extra heartbeats or abnormal heart rhythms in this site.

Now let's start with what is heart palpitation and several important facts about it in this article.

A palpitation is a conscious awareness of the irregular, rapid, extra, skipped, pounding heart beat or racing of the heartbeat. When you have a palpitation, you may simply feel an unpleasant sensations of your own heartbeat, whether it is too slow, too fast, irregular, extra, skipped, stopped or at its normal frequency. Heart palpitations can be felt in your chest, throat, or neck.

Mostly, palpitations result from heart disease or abnormal heart rhythms (cardiac arrhythmias). However, palpitations can occur without heart disease or any arrhythmias disorder. In these cases, heart palpitations may be caused by overfull stomach, flatulence, overexertion, adrenaline, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, cocaine, certain medications, diet pills, hyperthyroidism, anemia, anxiety, panic disorder, stress, lack of oxygen. In some cases, the causes of heart palpitations remain unknown.

For more detail information on heart palpitations causes, you can visit the following pages:

Heart Palpitations Symptoms

Most of the times, the person experiencing palpitations may not realize of any problem except the abnormal heart rhythm itself. But palpitations can be associated with other symptoms such as tightness in the chest, pain in arms or legs, shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating, faintness, chest pain or light-headedness. These symptoms may be just of short duration or more prolonged.

Any abnormal heart rhythm is referred to as arrhythmias. This abnormal rhythm of the heart could be an irregular heartbeat, a rapid beating, slow heartbeats, an extra heartbeat, or a skipped heartbeat. Arrhythmias can sources from other disorders such as cardiovascular disease, disease of heart muscle, valves, electrical system, or arteries to the heart (coronary arteries). Abnormal heart rhythms occur when the electrical impulses in your heart that coordinates your heartbeats don't function properly, causing your heart to beat too rapid, too slow or irregularly. Other health conditions that lead to a temporary or serious stress to the heart may also cause heart palpitations and arrhythmias.

Type of heart palpitations

Tachycardias
Tachycardias is a condition in which the heart contracts at a rate faster than normal heart rate, usually applied to rates over 100 per minute. This can produce symptoms of palpitations, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting or near fainting.

Bradycardias
A type of arrhythmia in which the heart beats more slowly than it should, usually less than 60 beats per minute (slow arrhythmias). The heart palpitations are often of short duration and associated with apnea and desaturation. A slow heart beat may be normal as in well-trained athletes or during times of sleep and relaxation. In other cases, the electrical impulse is slowed or blocked and may require medical intervention. It is due either to altered pacemaker function of the sinoatrial node or interrupted impulse conduction through the natural electrical pathways of the heart.

Bradys are usually associated with apnea in premature infants. During these spells the infant will stop breathing for at least 15 seconds and the heart rate will start to slow, also referred to as an “A&B spell.” Gentle touching or other stimulation almost always restarts the breathing and increases the heart rate. Medications (theophylline or caffeine) are often used to treat these spells in newborn babies.

Fibrillations
Irregular heart rhythms, involuntary muscle contractions or uncoordinated contractions of individual heart muscle fibers are called fibrillations (as in atrial fibrillation). This chaotic rapid contraction or twitching of atrial or ventricular muscle is due to spontaneous activation of single muscle cells or muscle fibers whose nerve supply has been damaged or cut off. The heart chamber involved can't contract all at once and pumps blood ineffectively, if at all. Ventricular fibrillation is life-threatening.

Premature Contraction
When a single heartbeat occurs earlier than normal, it is called a premature contraction, and this can cause the sensation of a forceful heartbeat / heart palpitations.

Extrasystole
This is a form of arrhythmia where there is an occasional extra heart beat. This is a premature systole resulting in a momentary cardiac arrhythmia, also known as premature ventricular contraction (PVC). It is a quite common occurrence in which the heartbeat is originated from the heart ventricles instead of the usual heartbeat initiator, the sinoatrial node.

Normal heart and pulse rates

The normal heart and pulse rates are from 60 to 100 times per minute. But they may drop below 55 beats per minute if one exercises regularly or takes medications that slow the heart beat.

Your pulse rates indicate your heart rates, or the number of times your heart beats in one minute. Normal heart and pulse rates vary from person to person. The pulse rates are slower when people are at rest and increases when they do some physical activities. This is because more oxygen-rich blood is needed by the body during exercise.

Evaluating Heart Palpitations

Heart palpitations are usually not dangerous. However, it will depend on whether or not the palpitations are associated with an arrhythmia or other disorders. Palpitations can be evaluated with testing, such as blood tests, echocardiogram, EKG, Holter monitor, treadmill testing, and tests of the coronary arteries.

Treatment of Heart Palpitations Symptoms

Heart palpitations can be relieved in many cases by reducing stress, quitting smoking, eating healthily, avoiding caffeine, alcohol, or soft drinks and living a healthy lifestyle. Doing some simple exercise regularly such as aerobic, stationary biking, cycling, brisk walks, or skipping is also recommended. Meditation and reading can also help you relieve the heart palpitations symptoms.

Patients with heart palpitations related to arrhythmias will need medications such as prescribed beta-blocking drug, a medication that blocks the effect of adrenaline on the heart. For severe palpitations, an antiarrhythmic injection may help, but if it does not worked, "cardioversion" may be introduced. A cardioversion deliver an electric shock to the chest of the patient to stop the abnormal heartbeat. The patient will need to put under a short general anaesthesia before the procedure.

These are just a few of the facts pertaining to heart palpitations. Heart palpitations symptoms are often harmless. However, if you are ever faced with an abnormal palpitation, it might be a good idea to see your doctor right away.

Now that you know a bit more about heart palpitations, I urge you to find out more about this! You can start by browsing around this site for more information to assist with any irregular, rapid, fast, slow, extra, racing, skipped heartbeat or abnormal heart rhythms issues that you may experience.

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Disclaimer: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.