How to Stop Palpitations of the Heart

Do you experience palpitations of the heart? This sensation is often described as a feeling of “turning over in the chest” or a “jump in the chest”. This can lead to a great deal of concern and distress and even the fear that the heart could stop entirely. This fear is usually not well founded as most people experience this symptom at one time or another and some deal with it on a daily basis despite having a normal heart. Is there a way to stop heart palpitations from occurring?

Palpitations are defined as an unusual awareness of the action of the heart. Generally, this is due to the presence of extra or “ectopic” heartbeats, most commonly premature contractions of the ventricles of the heart known as PVC’s. Most PVC’s are benign and aren’t indicative of future heart problems, but they should always be checked out by a doctor if they’re frequent or are associated with lightheadedness, chest pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath. PVC’s are more common in some forms of heart disease and can be associated with other physical problems such as anemia or an overactive thyroid. In most cases, no cause is found and the palpitations become more of a nuisance than a health threat. What are the ways to stop heart palpitations?

How to stop heart palpitations: Give up caffeine

Caffeine is one of the most common causes of heart palpitations. Many people discover when they cut back or eliminate caffeine from their diet, the problem goes away or, at least, becomes much less frequent. Keep in mind that caffeine is found not only in coffee, but also green, white, and black tea as well as soft drinks and chocolate. Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications also contain caffeine.

How to stop heart palpitations: Check your medications

There is a long list of medications that can cause heart palpitations including asthma medications, anti-depressants, blood pressure medications and many more. If you’re having frequent heart palpitations and are on meds, check with your doctor to see if they may be contributing to the problem. Keep in mind that over-the-counter medications such as analgesics and allergy medication contain caffeine which can make palpitations worse.

How to stop heart palpitations: Avoid alcohol

Alcohol is another common cause of heart palpitations especially binge drinking.

How to stop heart palpitations: Could it be stress?

Stress and anxiety commonly cause PVC’s and may also increase your awareness of them. Some people become so fixated on their palpitations that they become even more stressed which makes the problem worse. It can be a vicious cycle. Try keeping a diary to sort out when your PVC’s are occurring. Write down any stressful circumstances that you were dealing with at the time and see if you can see a pattern. In some cases, a mild sedative can help relieve heart palpitations that are causing great anxiety.

How to stop heart palpitations: Valsalva

Stimulating the vagus nerve which controls the heart rate will sometimes stop palpitations. To do this, you can perform the Valsalva maneuver. This consists of holding your nose, closing your mouth, and attempting to breathe out with some force. If done correctly, you may experience immediate relief from your palpitations.

Keep in mind that although heart palpitations are usually benign, you should always have them checked out by your doctor, particularly if they occur frequently or are associated with symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, or light headedness.

HealthwoRx™ Cardiologists are Board Certified and can help diagnose and assist with heart palpitations. Call 954.967.6550 to schedule an appointment.