Heart palpitations

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Heart palpitations are abnormal or irregular heartbeat. It is characterized by sensations like the heart is beating too slow, fluttering and too fast. It lasts for a few seconds to longer hours. Palpitations can be felt in the chest, throat or neck and sometimes in the ear.

Causes of heart palpitations

  • Conditions such as low blood pressure, low blood sugar, dehydration, anemia, thyroid disease and fever.
  • Anxiety, panic attacks, fear, and stress.
  • Taking medications such as diet pills, decongestant and asthma inhalers. Cardiac medications in treating irregular heartbeats worsen the symptoms.
  • Drinking alcohol and taking drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine
  • Eating foods rich in sugar, artificial coloring and flavors such as monosodium glutamate
  • Performing vigorous physical activity
    Heart palpitations

    Palpitations can be felt in the chest, throat or neck and sometimes in the ear.

  • Abnormal levels of electrolytes

Symptoms

  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Problems with vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating

Treatment

  • Perform Valsalva maneuver, an ancient technique that restores fast heart beats to normal. It stimulates the 10th cranial nerve or vagus nerve and slows down heart beatings.
  • Cough vigorously for at least a few minutes to stop the pattern of a palpitation. It builds up pressure in the chest and returns the heart to normal rhythm.
  • Perform deep breathing exercises to lessen the heart palpitations. It also lessens panic attack and anxiety and normalizes heart rate. It relaxes the body and for proper flow of blood to the brain.
  • Drink cold water to restore normal heartbeats, lessen the anxiety, the stress and the dizziness. Another alternative is splashing cold water on the face is also good for the condition.
  • Increase intake of magnesium in the diet for proper functioning of the heart and the nervous system and also increase flow of blood in the area. Magnesium can be found in food such as spinach, oatmeal, peanut butter, dark green vegetables, bananas and low-fat yogurt. Another alternative is taking prescribed magnesium supplement for the body.
  • Prescribed medications for palpitation caused by arrhythmia.
  • Prescribed beta blockers to lessen palpitations, slow down the heart rate and control flow of blood to the heart.
  • Ablation, a medical procedure to lessen the palpitation due to arrhythmias.
  • Prescribed medications to lessen the symptoms of palpitation caused by thyroid disease or anemia.

Tips

  • Control levels of cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and palpitations.
  • Perform regular exercises at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercises such as running, walking and playing tennis 3-4 times every week.
  • Perform some breathing exercises such as yoga, meditation and other relaxation techniques to lessen stress.
  • Sleep at least 6-7 hours of sleep at night.
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  • All canadianfirstaid.ca content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.