Heart | April 3, 2018 | Author: Naturopath
Have ever noticed your heart skip a beat, flutter or race? These are symptoms of heart palpitations and almost everyone has experienced this at some time in their life. Heart palpitations are not always serious and can be caused by a variety of things such as stress, alcohol, caffeine and exercise. It’s important that you seek medical advice if they don’t improve, get worse, or if you have heart problems.
You may also feel a strong pulse throughout the chest, head and neck.
This is due to an increase in stress hormones such as adrenaline which causes your heart to beat faster and more vigorously.
Alcohol—some research suggests that drinking between 1-3 alcoholic drinks each day may increase your risk of atrial fibrillation. An abnormal heart rhythm that can cause palpitations, shortness of breath and dizziness.
Click Here For Article on Atrial Fibrillation
Nicotine—a stimulant found in cigarettes that can irritate the heart and cause extra beats.
Caffeine—drinks or foods that contain caffeine such as coffee, tea, cola, chocolate and energy drinks can stimulate the activity of the heart.
Exercise—especially with strenuous activity and after exercise due to adrenaline levels remaining high for a period of time.
Certain medications—some cold and allergy medications that contain pseudoephedrine can often precipitate palpitations.
Recreational drugs—the cardiovascular system, including the heart, are affected by illicit drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy.
Arrhythmias—an abnormal heart rhythm which is too fast or too slow is a common cause of heart palpitations.
Heart conditions—abnormalities with the heart such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure or heart valve/muscle abnormalities can affect how the heart beats.
Hormone changes—taking the oral contraceptive pill, missing a period or any other kind of hormonal change can cause your heart to beat irregularly.
Pregnancy—significant shifts in blood volume during pregnancy puts a new stress on the heart that may bring about a tendency for a faster heartbeat.Low blood sugars—if you have gone too long without a meal and blood sugar levels plummet this can make you more susceptible to heart palpitations.
Anaemia—having anaemia means your heart pumps more blood to compensate for the lack of oxygen present. This can lead to an increase in your heart rate and palpitations.
Click Here For Article On Anaemia
Overactive thyroid—if you suffer from hyperthyroidism this can lead to palpitations and the feeling of a racing heart. This is due to the physiologic effect of thyroid hormone on the heart.
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Electrolyte imbalances—having high or low levels of electrolytes during dehydration can alter the electrical activity of the heart and lead to heart palpitations.
Low blood pressure—when your blood pressure drops too low this can lead to dizziness, nausea and heart palpitations.
Caffeine is a well-known heart stimulant which can contribute to palpitations and arrhythmias. In people who experience palpitations on a regular basis it is probably best to avoid caffeine but for others with minor concerns maybe limiting consumption would be helpful. There are lots of different foods and drinks which contain caffeine including certain kinds of soft drinks, energy drinks, coffee, tea and chocolate. Even certain supplements such as diet pills and energy enhancers can contain caffeine so it’s important to read labels.
If you have low levels of electrolytes from dehydration, supplementing with a rehydration formula may be of assistance. Ask your naturopath or nutritionist for better quality formulas which contain higher amounts of minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium. For everyday use, supplementing with these minerals may assist with heart health and decreasing stress levels—particularly magnesium. Overall, make sure you are drinking between 2-3 litres of water daily.
If heat palpitations are due to an increase in anxiety finding ways to unwind and decompress will help to relieve your symptoms. Good options include meditation, tai chi, massage, burning essential oils such as lavender and yoga. Make sure that you allow time each day to switch off, even if it is for short periods.
Regular physical activity can help the problem by relieving anxiety and conditioning the heart. It is strenuous forms of exercise such as sprinting, weightlifting and marathons that may worsen heart palpitations.
If you notice certain activities trigger heart palpitations, you should probably modify that activity or stop altogether.
Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) is an herb used in Western herbal medicine for anxiety, insomnia and restlessness. More recently, a 2015 study found that lemon balm is effective in the treatment of benign palpitations. Volunteers were assigned a 14 day treatment with 500mg of lemon balm twice daily where they recorded the frequency and intensity of palpitations as well as their psychiatric symptoms. After 2 weeks the participants reported reduced frequency of palpitation episodes and a significant reduction in anxiety compared to placebo. It was also noted that lemon balm did not cause any adverse reactions.
Other herbs which are traditionally prescribed for heart palpitations include: