Pounding Heart (Pulse)

by Sam Malone

What is a pounding heart?
A pounding heart pulse is a sensation in the chest that makes you feel as if your heart is racing too fast and pounding against your chest. In this condition, there is generally an unpleasant awareness of one’s heartbeats; experiencing skipped beats or stopping of heartbeat is common in some cases, though it happens only for a very short duration. Apart from this, the rhythm with which the heart beats also changes or it remains the same, depending upon the individual. Sometimes referred to as palpitations, pounding heartbeats are generally felt in the neck, throat and chest. In rare cases, shortness of breath accompanies a pounding heartbeat.

Why does it happen?
In a normal person, the heart beats approximately 72 times per minute. This is a considered healthy. Those who exercise regularly or take some sort of medications that affects the rate at which the heart beats may have a heart rate of 60 to 65 beats per minute. It might also be that heartbeats become so fast that they reach 100 beats per minute. A pounding heart pulse is when the heart rate increases drastically; while this is not entirely serious, what is important is whether or not the rhythm of the heartbeat is abnormal. Many people experience palpitations after eating. However, a sudden pounding of the heart against the chest right after eating is not a serious issue, so avoid panicking. Instead keep yourself calm and composed, and if possible, take some rest immediately.

Some of the reasons of an abnormal heart beat are as mentioned below:
  • If you have a heart disease and palpitations occur, then there are chances that you might have an abnormal rhythm of heartbeats.
  • If someone has an abnormality in the valves of the heart, then an anomaly in the rhythm occurs.
  • Electrolytes like potassium in the blood are very important. Low levels of such electrolytes cause abnormal heartbeats.
What Causes It?
Causes for pounding heart pulse (which may or may not include abnormal heart rhythms) are many. Some of these are as follows:
  • In some cases, anxiety and stress play a big role in initiating palpitations, so remain calm and the pounding will ease.
  • Fear is another big factor in causing palpitations, similar to anxiety.
  • If you have anemia or if you are feeling anemic, then your heart may start pounding without any warning.
  • Those who drink a lot of coffee experience this condition more than those who do not consume caffeinated products. Caffeine increases the heart rate partially, and therefore is a cause of pounding heart pulse.
  • The medicines used to cure thyroid problems contain enzymes and chemical formulae that increase the heart rate, and thus sometimes cause palpitations.
  • Similarly, asthma patients should be wary of palpitations as their medication also causes palpitations of the heart.
  • Exercising may also cause pounding of the heart. This is because the heart has to pump more blood in the same time, so the heart muscles expand more than the usual extent, thus giving a pounding sensation in the chest.
  • Diet pills are one more cause of palpitations.
  • If your blood contains low levels of oxygen, then chances are that you will experience palpitations along with breathlessness.
  • Those suffering from fever and those who are experience hyperventilation are more prone to palpitations.
  • A mitral valve prolapse causes sudden pounding; so do other heart valve diseases.
  • For those who smoke, nicotine serves a good agent to cause palpitations.
  • An overactive thyroid gland causes the heart to pump more blood, and this, in turn, causes palpitations.
  • Narcotic drugs like cocaine can also cause a sudden increase in the heart rate.
What can you do?
There are some simple measures that you can take to reduce the incidence of palpitations. However, the first step must always be to consult a doctor and get proper diagnosis/medical treatment. Additional remedies that can help alleviate the problem are as mentioned below.
  • If you drink too much coffee, you should reduce the amount of caffeine that goes into your system. Drinking alcohol a lot is also a cause of pounding of the heart, so in order to prevent the palpitations after drinking, reduce the intake of alcoholic drinks.
  • Whenever you experience palpitations, breathing exercises are the best option to quickly relieve yourself from the condition.
  • Take occasional breaks from work and engage in de-stressing activities like long walks and meditation. Another alternative is a deep relaxation method that involves a step-by-step technique that first tenses and then relaxes each and every muscle of your body. Tai chi or yoga also helps in overcoming chest pains and breathlessness arising from palpitations.
Keep a track of your palpitations if you experience them more often. Note the duration for which it occurs and the number of times it occurs during the day or the week. You should also note the heartbeat during the time you were experiencing the palpitations. All this data will help your doctor analyze the situation and treat you in a better way. It will help him/her assess the seriousness of the condition and also the cause of the palpitations. For those who experience heart palpitations for the first time, it should definitely be brought in the notice of the doctor of the heath care professional.

Consultation with a doctor becomes a necessity when you feel you heart is beating six more than the normal pulse rate or higher. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. are some of the risk factors of a heart disease, so ignoring them will increase the seriousness of the condition. These are the direct causes of palpitations and advice from a medical professional is the best possible option as prevention is better than cure. Moreover, if you are experiencing pounding heart pulse of varying intensity and of different types, then it is time to make an appointment with your doctor. Emergency services are the last resort. In case you or someone around you becomes unconscious and regains consciousness after complaining about heart palpitations, then it is the right time to make the call. Difficulty in breathing right after or during the heart palpitations also warrants a call to the emergency services.

Reference:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003081.htm

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
More articles from the General Health & fitness Category