Everyone's experience on heart pounding after eating is individualized; the causes and symptoms of the heart palpitations will vary a little bit from person to person.
Some awakened at night feel anxious and then get a rapid heart beat at rest. While others experience a very fast heart rate when exercising, and it takes awhile for the heart beat to slow down. Some experience heart palpitations after eating. Some people only get an increased heart rate after eating sugar or processed foods. Sometimes heart palpitations (tachycardia) will happen even when just sitting, watching TV, laying down or just walking up the stairs.
We'll focus this article on the issues related to heart pounding after eating. Visit Pounding Heart Beat Causes to learn about other causes of pounding heart. You might also want to take a look at this article: Extra Heartbeat Causes.
There are several possible mechanisms as to why you experience rapid heartbeat after eating. Both increased and decreased of the heart rate with the ingestion of food and liquid are normal as digestion naturally increases the work of the heart. This can be seen from the changes in the blood flow as your stomach begins digesting a meal. Digesting food also puts extra demand on the body for oxygen. The occurrence of heart pounding from this process is possible although it may be a sign of problem with the circulation, the heart or the lung too.
People with poor digestion may experience heart palpitations after eating a heavy meal, particularly:
- Meal that riches in carbohydrate, sugar or fat such as chocolates;
- Food that are high in MSG, nitrates and sodium e.g. processed foods including pizza, lasagna, or foods high in oil;
- Food or drink that contain caffeine or other stimulants.
Some believe that this has something to do with the Vagus nerve which is shared by both the heart and the stomach. Some find that daily intake of Pantoprazole (Protonix), a medicine for indigestion, helps alleviate heart palpitations symptoms.
If you experience an increased heart rate after eating sugar, the amount of sugar you consumed also seems to affect how much pounding you get. You may feel like getting an adrenaline rush. Sometimes it is so bad that you can't go to sleep at night. It's also possible to experience shortness of breath, bloating and indigestion with it on occasion. The episodes of heart pounding usually begin within 30 to 60 minutes after eating a meal. The heart starts racing and sometimes goes up to 120 beats per minute or even more. It lasts up to 6 hours sometimes.
Moreover, those heavy meals such as pizza and lasagna have tons of sodium and saturated fat in them. If you do not drink enough water, your blood becomes thicker, and your heart will need to work harder. Also, cholesterol levels can spike right after a high saturated fat meal meaning your heart is overworking during this digestion process.
Increased heartbeat after eating certain foods may also sign a food sensitivity, even if you never had problems with food before. A food diary may clue you if this is the case.
Being overweight may also worsen the symptoms of heart pounding after eating.
If the heart pounds after eating is irregular or rapid, you could have cardiac arrhythmia such as premature ventricular contractions.
The cause of pounding heart after eating may turn out to be not related to heart problem at all. Severe acid reflux disorder (GERD) may cause the valve at the top of the stomach (between the esophagus and stomach) spasm. This may result in a sensation of the heart arbitrarily increasing the rate and beating faster and harder. Night sweats, anxiety attacks at night and heart palpitations after eating heavy meal might indicate heartburn from acid reflux.
Moreover, hiatus hernia may also cause palpitations after eating symptoms. Eating puts pressure in the stomach and hernia, which in turn puts pressure on the vagus nerve that controls the heart rate. It can also cause breathing difficulties.
The feeling of heart racing is very uncomfortable. It may make you feel very anxious and lead to a panic attack. Some people who experience rapid heartbeat after eating may get scared to the point where he or she skips meal to avoid racing or pounding heart symptoms. Others reduce the amount of food they consumed to keep away from the unpleasant and frightening episodes.
If your heart pounds after eating, you are suggested to divide your meals into several small meals and avoid large meals. This will avoid stressing the response on Vagus nerve and stabilize your blood sugar.
Sudden tachycardia / rapid heartbeat after eating may occur for no appearance reason. Completely changing your lifestyle should reduce the occurrence of heart palpitations after eating. Drink green tea after eating meals high in fat may help minimize the increase in heart rate. Some people find that drinking lots of water can help too.
Heart pounding after eating can be caused by any of the listed conditions or a combination. It could be as minor as acid reflux or food sensitivity to as major as liver or kidney damage. But it may be completely harmless since your heart works hardest when digesting food. You will have to have the proper diagnostic testing to determine your real problem and find the appropriate treatments that work for you.
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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.