Arrhythmia / Ectopia
Have you heard the romantic notion that upon seeing a lover, one’s heart will “skip a beat?” This may not be far from the truth, as heart palpitations are quite common and can be brought on by strong emotion, fear, shock, panic, and the like—perhaps even the awe of seeing something beautiful. If your heart occasionally skips a beat, thumps, or races, it’s probably nothing to be concerned about. However, if you frequently sense heart palpitations, or if racing or pounding continues for prolonged periods, your heart could be functioning abnormally. Here’s what to look out for:
- Frequent racing or pounding of the heart
- Prolonged racing or pounding, lasting for several minutes or even an hour
- Pain or acute discomfort in the chest during or just after palpitations
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, or sweating during or just after palpitations
What Causes Heart Palpitations?
The electric impulses that cause the heart to beat may be interrupted or affected by external influences, making the heart change its rhythm or pound heavily. Most commonly, this is brought on by exertion and goes away after your body receives more oxygen from the blood. Excess adrenaline may also cause palpitations. Adrenaline is produced by panic, shock, fear, and similar emotions. It may also be caused by excess caffeine intake (or intake of other stimulants, such as guaraná and ephedra). Adrenal imbalance also may be caused by a weak thyroid. An overactive thyroid and/or Grave’s Disease or too much thyroid medication is a common cause of ectopia.
Heart palpitations can also be a symptom of anxiety or panic attacks. A rare cause of palpitations is carcinoid syndrome (too much serotonin).
If you notice unusual or frequent palpitations, you can help protect yourself from heart dysfunction, including:
- Reduce caffeine and other stimulants.
- Take black haw bark along with relaxing herbs such as motherwort, hawthorn berries, Chinese skullcap, mint, and chamomile.
- Check for thyroid imbalances, including thyroid disease (Graves disease) or if you are taking too much thyroid medication.
Eating grapes has been linked to a reduction in heart palpitations, especially those related to hot flashes. Eat fresh grapes or drink organic grape juice. Also, the potassium found in fruit, vegetables, and fish helps reduce blood pressure. Bananas and nectarines are an excellent source of potassium. If you cannot get enough potassium from foods, try a potassium supplement. Also, take a calciummagnesium supplement; magnesium is effective in preventing palpitations by relaxing the chest area, including the heart and lungs.Replenish your body after shock, trauma, or stress by taking B, C, and E vitamins.