How often are you aware of your heart beating? Have you ever felt your heart skip a beat? Heart palpitations are really common.
Your heart is truly an amazing electrical organ. On average the heart beats over 100,000 times a day. And nearly 99.99% of the time your heart probably beats perfectly. However, every once in a while your heart can malfunction. Yes, it is totally normal for your heart to “flip flop”, “flutter”, and “skip a beat”. If you’ve noticed this, you should bring it to your doctor’s attention. Some heart palpitations are harmless and some are quite concerning. This is why you should have your heart evaluated by a physician every year at an annual physical exam. Yes, I am suggesting that you should meet with your doctor at least once a year. In fact, if you are over 40, you should get an annual Electro Kardio Gram (EKG) screening, even if you have not experienced cardiovascular symptoms. An EKG screening will show the electrical activity in the heart pulse. This test can diagnose specific types of heart palpitations, or rule out the heart as the source of the discomfort.
There are many different kinds of heart palpitations. Some palpitations are triggered by your cardiovascular system, some your nervous system, and some from substances you ingest. You actually have control over many of the triggers that can induce heart palpitations. With heart palpitations it would be wise to monitor your intake of water, caffeine, nicotine, and cocaine are all common causes of palpitations. Getting dehydrated along with the associated mineral imbalances is a common cause of heart palpitations. It is important to drink a minimum of 60 ounces of water each day that is balanced with minerals (tap water, spring water, mineral water, ect.). An easy way to keep your minerals balanced is to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Another really common trigger for palpitations is caffeine. Living in the Northwest it is difficult to suggest that anyone should give up coffee or energy drinks. Most of use are pretty addicted to the stimulation of caffeine. The good news is that heart palpitations often improve by just reducing your caffeine intake. It is something to think about.
There are many natural and conventional treatments for palpitations. We already talked about improving hydration and reducing caffeine to get you started. You should consult a physician about taking minerals (like potassium and magnesium), fish oils, herbs and nutrients like CoQ10. The need and dosing of these nutrients can be determined by a visit with a physician, reviewing blood work, physical exam, EKG results, combined with your history.
Some of the heart palpitations are related more to stress on the nervous system. In this case the heart is quite healthy and that the problem lies with the stress hormones and neurotransmitters. Stress hormones, like cortisol, and neurotransmitters, like epinephrine (“adrenaline”), can trigger your heart to “skip a beat” too. There are tests that can confirm your cortisol and neurotransmitter levels as well. The treatments for healing the nervous system would often be quite different from treatments directly for the heart. Often healing the nervous system can involve counseling, biofeedback, herbal medicine, acupuncture and targeted amino acid therapies.
I find the beating heart a great example where conventional technology can pair with natural medicine to serve patients holistically. At LNM you will find Naturopathic Physicians that will listen to your history, perform lab work if necessary, refer for EKG test and treat your heart palpitations individually.