Heart Racing - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment
What Is Heart Racing?
Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations is a feeling as if the heart is fluttering or pounding. This sensation is usually triggered by excessive stress, heavy exercise, certain classes of medication, or a medical condition like anxiety disorder. Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations can cause worry to an individual but in actuality it is a harmless. In very rare cases, it can be a sign of heart arrhythmias in which case the individual may require treatment.
What Causes Heart Racing?
There is no particular cause for Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations but there are certain situations which may cause the heart to race which are:
- Extreme stress or anxiety
- Heavy strenuous exercises
- High intake of caffeine
- Chronic smoking or drinking alcohol
- High fever
- Certain hormonal changes during pregnancy or at the time of menopause
- Taking inhalers like that is used for asthma patients.
Rarely, Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations can be a sign of an underlying medical condition like hyperthyroidism or cardiac arrhythmia in which the patient has an irregular heart rhythm.
What Are The Risk Factors For Heart Racing?
Some of the risk factors for Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations are:
- Being severely stressed either at work or at home
- Suffering from psychiatric disorders like anxiety and panic attacks
- Pregnancy also tends to cause Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations
- Taking cold medications or asthma inhalers also puts the individual at risk for having Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations
- Individual suffering from hyperthyroidism is also at risk for having Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations
- If an individual has a prior history of cardiac problem is also at risk for frequent episodes of Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations
What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Racing?
Some of the symptoms of Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations are:
- Feeling of skipped beats
- Fluttering o the heart
- Feeling as if the heart is overworking
Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations can occur irrespective of whether you are sitting, standing, active or lying down to rest and can be felt across the neck, throat and chest.
How Is Heart Racing Diagnosed?
Once you describe your symptoms to the treating physician, the physician will start by asking as the duration of the symptoms and what are symptoms you experience like chest pain or shortness of breath. The physician may also ask if you have a prior condition of hyperthyroidism or any psychiatric history. The physician will also inquire whether you may be under some sort of stress which may be causing the symptoms. Once taking the history in order to rule out cardiac conditions causing the symptoms the physician will the following diagnostic studies:
Electrocardiogram: In this test, the heartbeat is monitored in the form of electrical impulses. This test can show whether the heart is beating fast or slow. It is a test which can show whether there are any abnormalities in the heartbeat in which whether it is beating too fast or too slow.
Holter Monitoring: A Holter monitor is device which can be used to check the function of the heart. This is placed in a patient usually in an inpatient setting for 24 or 72 hours depending on the severity of the symptoms. This test is performed is the ECG is inconclusive.
Event Recorder: If the results of the Holter monitor are inconclusive then the physician may recommend an event monitor, which the patient will have to wear at all times. This device will record any abnormal heart rhythm.
Echocardiogram: This is also a very potent test to identify any cardiac abnormality. In this ultrasound waves are passed and recorded and the exact functioning of the heart is recorded. Any abnormalities in the functioning of the heart can be seen using this test.
How Is Heart Racing Treated?
Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations do not require any treatment unless it is caused by a cardiac condition. In case Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations are not caused due to a heart condition then the physician may recommend just avoiding things that may trigger the event. If arrhythmia is a cause of Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations then treating arrhythmia will be required for resolution of symptoms.
What Are The Dos And Don'ts When Having Heart Racing?
The best way to avoid your heart racing is to stay away from the triggers which tend to cause it. Some of the methods of coping up with Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations are:
- Reduce stress and anxiety. The best way to do this is by trying relaxation techniques. You can consult a psychiatrist to find out the best relaxation exercises. Yoga and aromatherapy have also shown to be benefit in reducing stress and anxiety.
- Avoiding stimulants in the form of excess caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, energy drinks can help in reducing Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations
- Stay away from recreational drugs. This goes a long way in keeping Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations at bay.
What Are The Complications Of Heart Racing?
There are no complications caused due to Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations unless it is caused due to a cardiac condition. Some of the potential complications are:
- Fainting: Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations may sometimes cause the blood pressure to drop down resulting in fainting.
- Cardiac Arrest: In extremely rare circumstances, Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations may cause a cardiac arrest.
- Stroke: If atrial fibrillation is the cause of Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations then there is a potential complication of a stroke.
- Congestive Heart failure: This can also be caused due to Heart Racing or Heart Palpitations in some rare cases.