Are palpitations dangerous

Palpitations: when it becomes dangerous and how to relieve it immediately

Why does a palpitations occur?

Typically, a healthy heart beats about 50 to 100 times per minute when at rest. This can vary depending on age and other factors. The normal resting heart rate of an adult is usually 70 to 80. If there are more than 100 beats per minute, one speaks of palpitations or palpitations, also known medically as tachycardia. When the body is under stress, it needs more energy due to this psychological or emotional stress - and blood circulation increases. As a result, the heart has to beat more often. This increased heartbeat is perceived by the person concerned as a racing heart, whereby the pulse shoots up noticeably at the same time.

Basically, there is no need to worry if you have a racing heart. Theoretically, this physical appearance is even a positive sign, because the heart tries to adapt to the load and reacts with an increased pulse and a faster heartbeat. Most of the time, the causes of heart attacks are harmless, but serious illnesses can also be behind them.

This is how you recognize a “racing” heart

Palpitations usually occur with other symptoms. Since an increased heartbeat often occurs during phases of physical activity, many people do not notice it immediately. When they finally notice the heart pounding, many sufferers react in fear or panic, as the side effects can be similar to those of a heart attack. Typical symptoms of a racing heart include:

  • a throbbing sensation in the chest (palpitations)

  • an increased pulse

  • increased sweating or sweaty hands

  • slight nausea

  • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing

  • Tremble

  • inner unrest

These are the triggers for a racing heart

Emotions such as anticipation, excitement and fear are stress factors for the body and heart - a racing heart is also mainly due to events with particular physical or mental tension. In these cases, the phenomenon feels uncomfortable for the person concerned, but is harmless. Enormous physical stress, for example through endurance sports or sporting activities in untrained people, can promote an increased heartbeat.

The consumption of stimulants such as alcohol, coffee, black tea or drugs can lead to the heart trying to cope with the stress. A typical consequence of excessive alcohol consumption, for example, is that one suffers from palpitations the following night. Often, a one-sided diet is also to blame: The lack of minerals such as potassium, sodium or magnesium can trigger palpitations, as the heart "stumbles" due to the undersupply.

In women, hormonal changes also play an important role in tachycardia: On the one hand, hormonal changes can occur shortly before the period or during pregnancy. On the other hand, palpitations are one of the typical menopausal symptoms that afflict menopausal women during the day or at night. In all of these cases, the racing heart is uncomfortable, but mostly harmless.

However, recurring attacks of palpitations can also indicate serious health problems. For example, they are typical symptoms of an overactive thyroid, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or anemia. If you can rule out acute stressful situations, an imbalance in the hormonal balance and recently consumed luxury foods as causes, a medical examination is advisable: Thyroid disorders or blood pressure problems may require further treatment.

Warning: If the rapid heartbeat is accompanied by chest pain and severe shortness of breath, and if these symptoms occur severely and over a long period of time, you should definitely consult a doctor. Because then a heart attack or a weak heart can be the cause of the accelerated heartbeat.

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Immediate relief from palpitations: 3 methods for immediate relief

From a health point of view, palpitations are in most cases harmless, but extremely uncomfortable for those affected. However, there are simple methods that you can use to quickly fix the problem:

1. Breathe in a controlled and calm manner

Due to the panic that catches up with many sufferers when they suddenly notice a racing heart, conscious breathing can provide rapid relief. In addition, calm breathing relaxes the entire body, increases the supply of oxygen to the brain, and can reduce possible panic or anxiety attacks. Ideally, lay flat on your back and place your hands on your stomach. Then inhale deeply and slowly into your stomach so that it bulges visibly as the air is drawn in. Then breathe out deeply through your mouth. Pause for one minute, then repeat the entire breathing process until the heart rate has normalized again. If you are on the move and have no way of lying down when your heart starts racing, it can help to consciously breathe in and out deeply for a few minutes.

2. Drink cold water

Dehydration can also make your heart palpable. As an emergency measure, drink a large glass of cold water to make up for the lack of water.

3. Add magnesium

A magnesium deficiency is one of the most common causes of (harmless) palpitations. In this case it can help to dissolve an effervescent magnesium tablet in water when the increased heart rate starts and to drink it in sips. Anyone who frequently suffers from palpitations due to an overactive thyroid or other diseases should regularly include foods containing magnesium such as almonds, cashews and sesame, green leafy vegetables such as chard, spinach or kale, as well as banana, avocado and oatmeal.