Skipping a beat or a heart palpitation is a strange and annoying feeling in your chest when you have the impression that your heart beat is abnormally fast or that your heart pounds. When that happens we are immediately worried that it is a sign of a serious heart problem like a heart attack and we are not sure if we should call 911 at once.
Although a heart palpitation might worry you and you should always try to find the cause of it, it is rarely a sign of a serious problem, especially if it is the only symptom you are experiencing. In fact, heart palpitations are usually a signal from your organism that you need to slow down or introduce some changes into your lifestyle.
On the other hand, there are cases when heart palpitations are a sign of a more serious medical disorder and therefore if they happen frequently, you should consult the matter with your doctor. Do not ignore it if it is accompanied by other worrying symptoms too.
My Heart Skips a Beat – What Are The Symptoms
You may be wondering if what you are experiencing is a heart palpitation or something else. People who have suffered from it often describe it in a different way. Generally, you may feel that your heart is pounding, beating harder or faster. You can feel it not only in your chest, but in your neck or throat too. Heart palpitations may appear while lying down, sitting, or standing.
The phenomenon may be only incidental or happen regularly, often in certain situations, for example, when you are stressed out. The condition often appears suddenly and goes away on its own too. You should rather not be worried if a heart palpitation is the only symptom you experience.
You should seek immediate medical help if apart from a heart palpitation you also experience such symptoms as pain or discomfort in your chest, breathing difficulties, shortness of breath, dizziness, and fainting.
My Heart Skips a Beat – The Most Common Causes
Different causes of heart palpitations can be enumerated. Most of them are connected with bad habits in your everyday lifestyle while others may indicate some heart-related problems.
1. Too Much Stress
Stress is one of the most common triggers of heart palpitations. When you feel stressed out, your body produces the hormone known as adrenaline, which can make you breathe faster and make your heart beat faster. Adrenaline can also increase your blood pressure.
If you undergo some stress only occasionally, it is not a big deal, but if stress becomes a part of your everyday life, your heart may keep beating faster even when you managed to deal with a stressful situation.
You may also suffer from heart palpitations if you have a panic attack or deal with anxiety. In such a situation the only way to get rid of this problem is to find balance in your life. Consider going to psychotherapy and try to learn relaxation techniques, and of course try to avoid the factors which stress you the most.
2. Intense Exercises
It is possible that you experience heart palpitations after intense workouts. Interestingly, you often will not notice it during your training, but afterwards. The reason for that is the fact that when you work out, your heart rate is faster and you do not notice some extra heartbeats.
However, when you stop exercising, the level of adrenaline is still increased, but your heart rate starts to slow down and this is when you can sense some extra or faster heart beats. If apart from this symptom you are also short of breath, or you feel chest in your pain, call 911 immediately.
3. Too Much Caffeine
Caffeine is a common stimulant of heart palpitations as it simply speeds up your heartbeat. Of course, caffeine in a moderate amount will not cause such an effect. The problem, however, is that we are often unaware how much caffeine we consume on a daily basis.
You may think that you only have two cups of coffee a day and that’s it, but you can find caffeine in other beverages too. Sodas, all the lattes or cappuccinos, hot chocolate, energy drinks, and even some over-the-counter medicines may all contain some amount of caffeine. Therefore, you can easily run over the recommended dosage of caffeine a day, without even realizing that.
Caffeine makes your heart beat faster because it releases adrenaline to your brain, but you need to be aware that some of us are more sensitive to caffeine than others. One person will drink a few cups of coffee and will feel almost nothing while others will have sleeping difficulties or get heart palpitations. Therefore, if you known that your organism reacts quite intensely to caffeine, limit its consumption to one or two cups of coffee a day. Avoid energy drinks at all as apart from caffeine they contain other unhealthy substances too.
4. Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol is one of the main enemies of your organism, including your heart. You may suffer from heart palpitations especially when you have the incidents of binge drinking or when you consume strong alcohols such as whiskey or vodka. The worst combination ever is drinking alcohol mixed with energy drinks as it is very dangerous and it can lead to serious heart damage.