The heart averages about 60-100 beats every minute, sufficient for blood flow through the entire body. However, this range changes when in certain situations. After a short evening jog, you’re likely to hear your heart pounding in your chest faster than it usually is. This awareness of your heartbeat is known as heart palpitations. Most times, they happen as a normal reaction. Sometimes, the reverse is the case, and this needs urgent care near you. Let’s talk about heart palpitations.
What Are Heart Palpitations?
Palpitations are the feeling that your heart is beating too hard or fast or skipping a beat. It’s no surprise that they’re usually felt in the chest; however, it’s possible to feel them in your throat or neck too. The closeness of the heart to these body parts explain this.
What Are the Causes of Heart Palpitations?
The most common causes of heart palpitations include strenuous exercise, stress or anxiety, and substances like alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine. All these work on the existing physiologic mechanisms of the body by causing an increase in adrenaline which acts on the heart. In women, hormonal changes seen during menstruation, pregnancy, and just before menopause may be responsible. Of course, these are all everyday experiences that need no urgent walk-in care.
Sometimes, heart palpitations are a pointer to a medical condition like low blood sugar, low blood pressure, dehydration, fever, and thyroid hormone levels below or above the normal range. In these situations, the relevant symptoms to each condition accompany the palpitations. When this happens, we advise that you seek urgent care in Katy, TX. Medications like decongestants, asthma inhalers, and diet pills can cause heart palpitations too. That is why you should always ask your doctor about the side effects of pills prescribed for you.
People have reported palpitations after eating certain foods, e.g., heavy meals rich in sugar, fat, monosodium glutamate (MSG), nitrates, or sodium.
Heart disease is the rarest but most severe cause of palpitations. The heart works based on an ‘electrical wiring system,’ which originates from a part of the heart known as the Sino-atrial node. In ideal conditions, our heartbeats are well coordinated. With heart disease, there may be a disruption of this mechanism, and this is seen as arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm wherein the heart beats faster or slower than usual). Heart conditions that can cause palpitations are coronary artery disease, heart failure, diseased heart valves, and heart muscles. A previous heart attack also increases the risk of palpitations.
If you ever feel palpitations accompanied by danger signs like shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, and fainting, do not hesitate to see us at Preferred Urgent Care. These are signs of a severe compromise in the body.
What Can You Expect at the Doctor’s Office?
You will need to give a brief clinical history when you visit us. That includes information about when, how often, and the situations that your palpitations occur. Other relevant details like your current medications, lifestyle, and diet sometimes point to the cause of the palpitations.
A physical examination of your chest and pulses is also necessary. Your doctor may order further investigations such as the electrocardiogram(EKG), Echocardiogram, Holter monitor, and a chest X-ray to get a better idea of what’s going on in your heart.
How Are Palpitations Treated?
As expected, treatment focuses on removing the cause. Most people don’t need to visit the doctor for palpitations. Doctors often advise that we avoid possible triggers of palpitations. You may need to cut down on alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and other psychostimulants. Try to avoid stress and anxiety through relaxation techniques, yoga, and other therapies. Some people need to talk to a psychologist or psychiatrist about panic attacks.
When the problem is with the heart, certain medications help. Some heart diseases may require surgery. Your doctor can prescribe a new drug or alter the dose of the ones you’re using if they cause heart palpitations.