The normal heart beat is felt when the person is exercising, excited, anxious, or lying on the left side. Palpitations are typically an anticipated sensation due to elevated rate and force of the heartbeat. The commonest cause of palpitation is anxiety.
The anxiety heart palpitations are further the results of a number of processes occurring in the body that lead to increase in heartbeat.
First, activation of the sympathetic nervous system occurs, which causes rapid increase in heart rate. Second, a surge of adrenaline may also trigger palpitations. Adrenaline is basically a hormone of your body which is released when you are anxious, nervous or when you are overexcited. Third, during panic or anxiety attacks, some individuals have a propensity to hyperventilate, which also cause an increase in the heart rate.
There are various other causes behind onset of anxiety heart palpitations. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which content of stomach leaks back to esophagus, may also lead to palpitations. Basically, anxiety again has a role here. Any sort of severe stress or anxiety may bring about regurgitation of stomach content back to esophagus, thus producing heartburn, palpitations and chest pain.
The most ordinary arrhythmia’s to be sensed as palpitations are paroxysmal tachycardia's and premature ectopic beats. Premature ventricular contractions (PVC) and premature atrial contractions (PAC) are also most common arrhythmias associated with anxiety.
Anxiety heart palpitations may initiate a vicious circle. For instant, more prolonged anxiety or emotional disturbances cause the occurrence of palpitations, which then readily bring on more anxiety by stirring strange suspicions in the patient’s mind with regard to their health.
• As soon as you sense an irregular or fast heartbeat, just sit down and breathe deeply and slowly. Your feet should be propped up.
• Take cold water since it is believed that water makes the esophagus to compress against the heart, and that push re-establishes the rhythm.
• Meditating is good to back down the level of your stress.
• Avoid foods that trigger acid reflex e.g. spicy food, high fat food, caffeinated drinks, etc.
In order to detect the real problems behind palpitations, your doctor may ask the following tests or examination:
• Blood tests
• A stress test
• Urine tests
• Holter monitor ( It is a portable machine helpful to record the cardiac rhythm for 24 hours)
• Electrocardiogram (EKG)
• Echocardiogram (a cardiac ultrasound)
• X-ray of the chest
• Coronary angiography (In order to check the flow of blood via the heart)
• Electrophysiology study (to examine the cardiac electrical function)
Various drugs are available to manage arrhythmias, including antiarrhythmic drugs and antiplatelet or anticoagulant therapy. Antiarrhythmic drugs help to control the rate of heart and include beta-blockers while antiplatelet or anticoagulant therapy decrease the risk of formation of thrombus and stroke by thinning the blood.
Further, radio ablation therapy is an invasive procedure which is also performed both non-surgically and surgically to treat arrhythmias.
It is also important to treat anxiety. Anxiolytics are usually prescribed along with counseling. Psychological counseling is considered as a gold standard method of managing anxiety and is performed through psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or by both therapies together.