Should You See Your Doctor About Panic Attacks
A panic attack can make you feel like youre about to collapse or even die, but it’s usually harmless. However, in some cases, you may need medical advice to rule out an underlying physical cause.
Get medical advice if:
- your panic attack continues after doing 20 minutes of slow breathing
- you still feel unwell after your breathing returns to normal
- you still have a rapid or irregular heartbeat or chest pains after your panic attack
- you regularly have panic attacks, as this could be a sign that you have panic disorder
Anemia And Your Heart
Anemia, or a low hemoglobin level in the blood, is often linked to heart disease because the heart has to work harder to pump more blood and oxygen through the body.
Anemia is a blood condition in which the levels of hemoglobin are lower than normal.
Anemia usually occurs when you dont have enough red blood cells the cells that transport hemoglobin throughout your body.
In other instances, the red blood themselves may simply contain too little hemoglobin.
How Anemia Affects Your Health
When someone is anemic, the body doesnt get the oxygen that it needs. If anemia is unrecognized and untreated, serious damage can occur in the organs.
- Feeling cold all the time, especially in the hands and feet
- Numbness in the hands and feet
- Pale appearance
- Problems concentrating or performing at your job or in class
- Frequent headaches or dizziness
When anemia becomes severe, the heart has to pump harder and faster to compensate for the decreased oxygen levels in the body.
What Causes Anemia?
While there are different types of anemia, they all are due to the same underlying problems insufficient red blood cells or lack of hemoglobin.
- Insufficient iron in the blood
- An inherited blood condition
The five most common forms of anemia are:
Are You At Risk for Anemia?
A number of risk factors increase the likelihood of developing anemia, including:
Anemias Impact on Heart Health
How Long Can Heart Palpitations Last From Anxiety
Heart palpitations from anxiety usually go away within a few minutes. They tend to start suddenly and end quickly.
If you have recurring heart palpitations from anxiety, your healthcare provider might diagnose an anxiety disorder. An anxiety disorder means excessive anxiety affects your everyday activities, such as going to work or school or meeting friends.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health condition in the U.S. They affect almost 1 in 5 people at some point.
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Understanding When Heart Palpitations Become Problematic
Songwriters have used phrases like skipped a beat, racing, pounding, and fluttering to describe the effect that love has on the heart. These are the same words doctors could use to describe potentially worrisome heart palpitations.
Palpitations are usually harmless. Exercise, stress, medication, or even caffeine can provoke palpitations. If they happen frequently or last for longer periods, it could be an indicator of a more serious heart condition like an irregular heartbeat, an overactive thyroid, or heart disease.
How Common Are Heart Palpitations Caused By Anxiety
Anxiety is the most common cause of palpitations that are not related to a heart problem. Its very common to have moments of anxiety, especially during stressful situations. These situations may include job interviews, public speaking or airplane flights. Most times, these anxious feelings and heart palpitations come and go quickly.
If you have feelings of anxiety often or for long periods, talk to your healthcare provider. You may have an anxiety disorder or a panic disorder. Treatment with medication, therapy or both can help relieve your symptoms.
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Does Anxiety Cause An Irregular Heartbeat
Typical signs of anxiety include feelings of nervousness and tension, as well as sweating and an uneasy stomach. One other common symptom of anxiety is an abnormally increased heart rate, also known as heart palpitations. Heart palpitations can feel like your heart is racing, pounding, or fluttering.
Other Causes Of Palpitations
In addition to anxiety, there are several other causes of heart palpitations. Palpitations can be brought on by:
- Alcohol. Having one or two too many drinks in a night can get your heart racing. People who rarely drink to excess, but do so at the occasional party may feel a fluttering in their chest later. This is sometimes called holiday heart.
- Caffeine. Each persons caffeine sensitivity is unique. You might drink three cups of coffee every morning and feel fine. A co-worker might try that and develop palpitations, headache, and other side effects. With the popularity of high-caffeine beverages, such as specialty coffees and canned energy drinks, researchers are learning more about how high levels of caffeine can lead to heart rhythm disturbances, high blood pressure, and other problems.
- Chocolate. Palpitations can develop from eating too much at one sitting. Overdoing your food intake at a dinner or other event can lead to a version of holiday heart. Chocolate is particularly associated with palpitations.
- Medications. Cold medicines that contain pseudoephedrine may trigger heart palpitations and jittery feelings.
For some people, palpitations are signs of an arrhythmia, a problem with the hearts electrical system that controls your heartbeats. A normal, resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. There are several types of arrhythmias. Each type produces unique symptoms, including an irregular heart rate. Among them are:
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Medical History Provides Clues
Your medical history may offer hints as to whether youâre experiencing a panic attack or afib. Often panic attacks are precipitated by some anxiety or depression or another psychiatric difficulty. Also, whether youâve had a panic attack in the past could be a clue. Dr. Sobel said the presence of one panic attack increases the likelihood of another. Likewise, he said, a family history of cardiac disease and arrhythmias may point in a different direction.
Women may have atypical symptoms of a heart attack or other heart condition, such as a burning sensation in the upper abdomen, an upset stomach, or sweating. Doctors donât always consider a heart attack or heart arrhythmia when women come to the ER with those symptoms, said Michelle B. Riba, MD, a professor and associate chair for integrated medical and psychiatric services at the University of Michigan.
How To Control Your Anxiety During Heart Palpitations
It’s always important to first get checked out by a doctor. Heart health issues are nothing to leave to chance. But it’s also important to remember that after your doctor has told you that you have a healthy heart, it’s common to continue to fear that the doctor missed something . Anxiety causes worst case scenario thinking, and so doctor’s visits may not always be sufficient to calm the mind – but they are necessary and constitute a step in the right direction.
If you’re suffering from heart palpitations, consider the following tips to prevent that palpitation developing into a panic attack:
One thing to notice, however, is that none of these are going to stop palpitations from occurring if you already have anxiety. Remember that focusing on your heart too much can in fact trigger or exacerbate palpitations. Although palpitations in and of themselves are generally harmless, the best way to address this issue is to commit to a formal anxiety reduction strategy. By lowering your anxiety levels, youre reducing the overall likelihood of experiencing palpitations.
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Living With Heart Palpitations
If you can understand what is causing your palpitations, you will likely be able to manage them. You will be able to avoid known triggers, like diet pills, caffeine, and cold/cough medicines.
Palpitations that are caused by anxiety or stress are sometimes harder to control. The anxiety can cause the palpitations, and the palpitations can create anxiety. These often make up a seemingly endless cycle. In these cases, your doctor may prescribe a medication to help ease anxiety.
When To Seek Medical Attention
Though palpitations are extremely common and in most cases not serious, its probably still a good idea to get them checked out by a doctor, even if only for peace of mind. If your heart palpitations are new and increasing in frequency, its probably best to be evaluated by a physician, just to determine the cause and whether you need treatment.
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Heart Palpitations While Pregnant
Studies show that heart palpitations are common in pregnancy. Some women will experience heart palpitations for the first time during pregnancy. Others get them before they become pregnant, and continue to feel them throughout pregnancy.
Heart palpitations during pregnancy are usually harmless, but they can sometimes be a sign of a problem. Heres what you need to know about the symptoms, causes, treatment, and complications of heart palpitations during pregnancy.
Will My Healthcare Provider Be Able To Rule Out Other Causes Of Heart Palpitations
Your provider will want to verify that anxiety-related palpitations arent dangerous. They may recommend other tests, such as:
- Chest X-ray to look at your heart and lungs.
- Echocardiogram or to examine your hearts overall function.
- Electrocardiogram to check your heart rate.
- Exercise stress test to see how your heart performs with increased activity.
- Holter monitoring to record your hearts activity over 24 to 48 hours.
If a Holter monitor doesnt show unusual heart rhythms, your provider may give you an event recorder. You can wear this recorder for weeks. You press a button to record any heart sensations that you experience.
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Preparing For An Appointment
If you have heart palpitations with severe shortness of breath, chest pain or fainting, seek emergency medical attention. If your palpitations are brief and there are no other worrisome signs or symptoms, make an appointment to see your doctor. Your doctor can help you find out if your palpitations are harmless or a symptom of a more serious heart condition.
Heres some information to help you get ready for your appointment:
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Keep Your Diet Low In Saturated Fat
Saturated fat is a major culprit when it comes to heart disease. Eating too much saturated fat drives up cholesterol levels, which facilitates the process of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis describes a buildup of plaque on arterial walls. Plaques are accumulations of cholesterol and other debris in the bloodstream, which then builds up on the sides of blood vessels. The formation of plaques greatly increases the risk of conditions like coronary artery disease. These plaques impeded blood flow, and in some cases, they may break off from the wall of the blood vessel and travel to other parts of the body. These plaques can then form blockages in the heart, brain, and lungs, leading to very serious and potentially life-threatening symptoms.
So, how can you limit saturated fat in your diet? You can limit saturated fat in your diet by avoiding fatty cuts of meat and whole dairy products, such as cream, cheese, and whole milk.
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Could Heart Palpitations Accompanied By Shortness Of Breath Be Serious
Heart palpitations can certainly be associated with shortness of breath, that is, the two symptoms together without a serious condition being present. That usually indicates that the irregularity of the heart rhythm is significant and may signal the need for a more comprehensive evaluation.
In general, the more serious the symptoms, such as lightheadedness, loss of consciousness, chest pain, shortness of breath, the more seriously one needs to take the problem.
If a patient has known heart disease such as a previous myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure , hypertrophic cardiomyopathy , and others, the symptoms of palpitations will require a thorough evaluation.
How Are Heart Palpitations Managed
If you have heart palpitations, or irregular or rapid heartbeats, there are a number of things you can do:
- Try to sit down and relax or find somewhere quiet to rest.
- Keep yourself calm and in a comfortable position.
- Try not to panic as this can make your symptoms worse.
- You may find it helpful to loosen any restrictive clothing that can affect your breathing, such as your collar button and tie.
- Avoid any stimulants that could make your palpitations worse this includes caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and recreational drugs.
If you are concerned about your heart palpitations, please consult your doctor.
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What Causes Panic Attacks
The physical symptoms of a panic attack are caused by your body going into “fight or flight” mode.
As your body tries to take in more oxygen, your breathing quickens. Your body also releases hormones, such as adrenaline, causing your heart to beat faster and your muscles to tense up.
Having a panic attack now? Try these tips for coping with panic attacks.
You may also find that breathing exercises help.
Risks For A Racing Heart
Everyone has the potential for heart palpitations. Theres a good chance youve felt them yourself. There are some risk factors, however, that can contribute to developing palpitations. They include:
- Being highly stressed
- Taking cold or asthma medicines containing stimulants
- An overactive thyroid
- Having heart problems
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What Are Heart Palpitations
When youre resting, you usually dont feel your heart beating, says Dr. Bibawy. When you can feel your heartbeat, youre having palpitations. Sometimes theyre expected, like after exercising. But other times, palpitations hit without warning.
You might feel palpitations in your chest, neck or throat, and they feel like your heart is:
Medical Treatment For Heart Palpitations
If self-help techniques don’t work, and palpitations are still bothersome, you may want to try some medical options. Medications called beta blockers are sometimes used to treat heart palpitations. They slow the heart rate and control the flow of “beat now” signals that regulate the heartbeat.
Sometimes a medical procedure called an ablation is needed. It can control palpitations caused by errant electrical signals in the heart.
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How Are Heart Palpitations Treated
Treatment of heart palpitations depends on what is causing them. Usually, there will be no treatment as the palpitations arent serious.
If you have a heart condition like an arrhythmia or atrial fibrillation, you may be sent to a specialist for treatment with medications, surgery or an implantable device.
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Deep Breathing for Immediate Relaxation
Exercise for better heart healthWhat treatments are available? Nutritional interventions Pharmacological treatments:Beta blockersAnti-arrhythmic drugsCalcium channel blockersCatheter AblationJust remember, don’t panic!
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What To Do If Foods Cause You Heart Palpitations
First off, take note if you feel any additional symptoms, because those could signal that youre experiencing more than simple palpitations. Seek emergency medical help if at any point you also have:
- Shortness of breath
- Pain or discomfort in the upper back, arms, neck, or jaw
- Feeling of impending doom
If its the first time youve ever noticed heart palpitations, make a follow-up appointment with your doctor. Its likely nothing is wrong, but its always best to err on the side of caution and make sure that the food-related episode isnt the first sign of a bigger issue.
Next, start a log and record times when the palpitations recur. Note what you ate or drank and what sort of emotional state you were in. If specific foods or beverages tend to cause recurrences, take that as a sign you should reduce or eliminate those foods from your diet. Your body and your heart couldnt be telling you any more clearly that those substances are doing you harm.
When To See A Doctor
Most palpitations happen infrequently and last just a few seconds. Take note of when they happen because there might be a triggering event, and that could be worth mentioning at your next checkup. Seek medical attention if there is a family history of heart disease, if palpitations happen with increasing frequency, or become more forceful. Get emergency help if the palpitations include:
- Chest pain
- Severe shortness of breath
- Severe dizziness
The heart palpitations could be a sign of anemia, an overactive thyroid gland, or an irregular heartbeat, also called an arrhythmia.
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The Root Cause Of Anxiety And Heart Flutters
Anxiety, panic attacks, heart palpitation, or flutters of your heart can be very concerning. Youre worried about whether youre having a heart attack, or whats wrong with your mind that youre so riddled with anxiety. Theres one root cause thats missed by doctors most of the time that has nothing to do with a heart or brain problem. Give a listen to learn more.
Hiatal Hernia is the reason whyThe problem is called a hiatal hernia. Hiatus means hole or opening a hernia is when something is protruding through an opening that it shouldnt. You may have heard of abdominal or inguinal hernias where someones intestines are pushing through an opening or tear in their abdominal muscles.
-Dr. Vikki Petersen, Founder
Is this hidden influence causing your symptoms?Is your health being affected by a hidden influence? Is there something your doctor is missing?
A huge percentage of Americans suffer from hiatal hernia and dont know it. Traditional medicine says it rarely causes symptoms, but thats because the symptoms it DOES cause, they never look for.
Do you suffer:
- bloating or pain in your abdomen?
- acid reflux or heartburn?