Heart Palpitations After Exercise: When To Seek Medical Attention?

Sometime in their life, every individual may have experienced heart palpitation. Lasting for few seconds to few minutes, heart palpitation is not often noted. Heart palpitation is defined as fast beating heart and at times fluttering and pounding of heart beats that can be noticed in the chest, throat and neck.

It is common to experience fast heart rate and palpitation after exercising; the main reason behind it is excess release of adrenaline into the blood stream. Palpitation after exercise and in general is not serious. However, you should consult a physician if you experience chest pain, breathlessness after doing exercise.

Especially if there is a past or present history of heart disease or an abnormality in rhythm or if there is an electrolyte imbalance, you should not neglect heart palpitation.

What Causes Heart Palpitations After Exercise?

It’s a known fact that after strenuous work and heavy workouts the heart rate is elevated and after a period of rest, the rate comes to its normal range. But we do not know the fact behind the racing and thumping heart after doing exercise. It’s the rush of adrenaline into the system which increases the heart rate and heart palpitation.

The adrenaline hormone released from the adrenal gland remains high for some more time in the blood stream, even after you have finished exercising. Adrenaline is responsible for fast pulse and that pounding feeling. In a normal healthy individual there is no serious concern as the heart rate will come to its normal level after some time.

However, if you have a known patient having history of atrial fibrillation (a type of abnormal rhythm of heart) you have to avoid doing heavy exercise. This is because such type of abnormal heart rhythm may be a sign of underlying heart ailment. Palpitation after doing rigorous exercise can jeopardize the heart function leading to low blood pressure, syncope, and even heart failure.

Caffeine is a stimulant which is known to produce heart palpitation. Consuming it before and after exercise may exacerbate the heart palpitation.

Stress and anxiety while exercising can also increase the modalities of heart palpitation.

There are certain medicines which are known to cause heart palpitation. Medicines used for high blood pressure, thyroid disease, asthma etc are known to increase heart rate and palpitation.

When To Seek Medical Attention For Heart Palpitations?

It is important to determine when to seek medical help if palpitation occurs during and after exercise.

If you are normal person and there is no history of any heart related illness, then too you should talk to your doctor regarding heart palpitation after a workout, especially if it persists all the time. Your doctor may examine you physically as well as he may do a simple electrocardiogram (ECG) test to find out if there is any rhythm abnormality or any structural defect in the heart.

But it is essential to consult a doctor when you have heart palpitation which is accompanied with other symptoms such as dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, and profuse sweating after exercise. In such situation, you should stop doing rigorous exercise. Your doctor will advise you to undergo few routine tests for detecting heart related ailments. These tests include ECG, stress test, X-ray chest, 2-D echo etc. Once you have been cleared by the doctor that there is no problem with your heart or lungs and your health in general, you can restart doing exercise.

If you feel terribly fatigued after running or doing heavy exercise, switch over to milder exercises such as simple walking.

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