How Do You Stop Heart Palpitations? | Understanding Heart Palpitations

If you’ve ever experienced a sudden pounding, racing, or skipping of your heartbeat, you’re not alone. Heart palpitations are a common condition that affects many people at some point in their lives. While they can be a sign of a heart condition, they can also be caused by a variety of other health conditions. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what heart palpitations are, what causes them, and how they can be treated.

What Are Heart Palpitations?

A heart palpitation is a feeling that happens in the chest, associated with the way the heart is beating. Heart palpitations can occur when you are active or resting and can be connected to a specific activity or trigger, or they might happen for no identified reason. The feeling of heart palpitations varies from person to person but often makes your heart feel like it is….

  • Beating in irregular patterns
  • Beating too quickly
  • Beating too strongly
  • Skipping heartbeats
  • Flip-flopping in the chest
  • Fluttering rapidly
  • Skipping heartbeats


Should You Be Concerned About Heart Palpitations?

Most of the time, heart palpitations shouldn’t be a reason to feel alarmed. Palpitations are often caused by something other than a heart condition. Common causes of palpitations include…

  • Strenuous exercise
  • Thyroid problems
  • Hormonal changes (such as menopause or pregnancy)
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Low blood sugar
  • Abnormal electrolyte levels
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Panic attack
  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine
  • Cocaine
  • Pseudoephedrine (an ingredient often used in cold medications)

However, if you experience heart palpitations regularly, it’s important to have an accurate diagnosis from an experienced medical professional. While heart palpitations are normal and aren’t a cause of concern unless they are linked with a heart problem, it’s best to talk to a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

How to Stop Heart Palpitations

If you experience heart palpitations, there are a few specific strategies you can use to stop them at the moment of an attack.

Try these tips to stop heart palpitations:

  • Splash cold water on your face, which stimulates a nerve that manages your heart rate.
  • Breathe deeply to help your body relax.
  • Vigorously move to stop palpitations through exercise.
  • Reduce anxiety in whatever way works best for your unique needs.
  • Close your eyes, then use your hands to gently press on your eyeballs.
  • Try the Valsalva maneuver: pinch your nostrils closed, then try to blow air through the nose with the nostrils sealed.
  • Drink water if the palpitations are associated with dehydration.
  • Restore electrolyte balance by eating foods high in calcium, potassium, magnesium, and sodium.


Long-Term Treatments for Palpitations

In most cases, heart palpitations will go away on their own. They usually aren’t harmful if the palpitations aren’t associated with a heart condition. The best treatment is to identify the underlying cause of heart palpitations to reduce the trigger.

Beyond heart-related causes, these factors may need to be evaluated to help manage your heart palpitation triggers:

  • Stress and Anxiety: Reduce stress levels through activities such as yoga, relaxation exercises, guided imagery, biofeedback, tai chi, and aromatherapy.
  • Substance Management: Cutting palpitation-inducing substances can be effective. You might need to avoid caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, cold medications, herbal supplements, or illegal drugs.
  • Smoking Cessation: The use of tobacco can play a role in heart palpitations, so it’s often recommended that you avoid cigarettes.
  • Prescriptions: Sometimes, medications can be used for managing heart palpitations, such as calcium-channel blockers or beta-blockers.

The overall goal is to identify the underlying reason for the palpitations so that reason can be treated.

When Medical Treatment is Needed for Heart Palpitations

If you are experiencing unusual heart palpitations, have a history of heart disease, or are unsure why you are having these symptoms, then the best solution is to talk to a doctor for a diagnosis. A medical expert can help in identifying the underlying problem so the right treatment plan can be prescribed.

During a typical visit, your doctor will complete a thorough medical exam and evaluate your medical history and ask about your diet, medications, and lifestyle. It is important that you provide as much information as possible, including the specifics of how often, when, and what circumstances trigger your palpitations.

Your heart palpitations may be an emergency if they are accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Chest discomfort

The risk of complications is high when palpitations are caused by a heart condition, which is why emergency services are essential. For example, palpitations could be a sign that leads to stroke, heart failure, or heart attack.

iCare ER and Urgent Care is Here to Help

It doesn’t matter if you have a minor health concern or you need emergency services, our team is here to assist. iCare offers locations in Frisco and Fort Worth, with both urgent care and ER services in the same location.

In the event of a medical emergency, go to an ER immediately or call 911. For urgent care needs, walk-ins are welcome, or you can make an appointment online.