Many people consult their physician when they feel their heart is beating faster for no reasons. The sensation of rapid heartbeat in medical terminology is also known as palpitation. It is a symptom in which the person becomes aware of his rapid and pounding heartbeat. It is brought about by change in heart rate, rhythm or contractility of the heart. In normal circumstances a person is not aware of his heartbeats. But there are certain conditions or situations which can make you overly aware of your heartbeats. The underlying factor can be harmless or may be serious.Rapid heartbeats can be momentary or persist for longer period. In any case you must consult your physician for further evaluation, especially if it is accompanied with fainting, dizziness, chest pain, excessive sweating etc.
What Causes Heart to Beat So Fast?
In majority of cases rapid fluttering heartbeat is caused due to psychological reasons. Hormonal and biological changes too can be responsible for it. In normal circumstances, a healthy person of an average temperament does not perceive rhythmic contraction of his heart. However, a normal person can experience faster heartbeats following exercise or any emotions or sexual excitement.This occurs due to release of a chemical called catecholamine in the body, leading to palpitation with increased force of contraction of the heart. Thus you become aware of your overactive heart. Besides anxiety and stress, there are certain other irrelevant causes that may be responsible for palpitation. Increased intake of coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages can lead to rapid heart rate. If you are taking medicines such as ephedrine, digitalis, consult your doctor as some of them can be trigger for your rapid heartbeats. Excessive smoking and alcohol can also lead to rapid heartbeats. There are various other reasons that you may not be aware of, might be responsible for your palpitation. For example, if you are anemic or suffering from thyroid disease, then too you may experience increased heart rate. Cardiac causes such as mitral and aortic valve incompetence can lead to discomforting palpitation. There are several other medical reasons, but together with palpitation these diseases may also present with other symptoms.
How to Stop Rapid Heartbeats
As you know there are many reasons for rapid heartbeats, in majority of cases they occur due to minor reasons such as anxiety and stress, or after exercise and drinking excessive amount of caffeinated products. However, if you are experiencing any serious accompanying symptom, such as dizziness, fainting, chest pain it may be due to some other potential serious cause which needs complete medical evaluation. Here are following steps that may help to reduce fast heartbeats:
- Relaxation: Try to relax your mind and body when you are anxious or excited. Relaxing techniques such as yoga and meditation can control rapid heartbeats resulting from stress, anxiety and panic attacks.
- Avoid or limit coffee, tea and other caffeine containing beverages.
- Quit smoking and alcohol.
- If a medicine is suspected to be the cause, talk with your doctor and ask for some alternative.
- Valsalva maneuver is an ancient technique to reduce rapid heartbeats. It is a simple technique where you have to pinch the nose and close the mouth. Then you try to breathe out with force. At first the heart rate increases but gradually it slows down. Valsalva maneuver stimulates the vagus nerve which than causes slow down of heartbeats.
- Drink a mixture of blackstrap molasses and water daily. It helps to reduce palpitation caused due to anemia.
- Eat foods that are rich in magnesium. Fruits such as banana, avocado, dark chocolate, kale, Swiss chard, cashew nuts and almonds are rich source of magnesium.
- Dehydration can cause palpitation. Drink enough water daily to prevent dehydration.
- If your doctor detects any medical condition, take the treatment for the underlying cause.