It’s long past midnight, and you’re lying in bed, wide awake and frightened. You can’t fall back to sleep because something seems to be wrong with your body—an irregular heartbeat and heart palpitations. It skipped a beat when you first woke up, and now you’re lying in the darkness, waiting to see if it’ll fall into that distinctive rhythm again.
So now you worry that you’re having a heart attack, that you’re going to die, or that you’ll die of embarrassment if you go to the accident and emergency unit and find out that nothing is wrong after all. Chances are, none of the above will occur. Skipped heartbeats, generally referred to as palpitations, are incredibly common, and they do not cause panic. Any strange heart palpitations that occur once or twice and attract your attention qualify as a palpitation.
The heart isn’t actually skipping a beat; but what you feel is a less forceful beat followed by one with more force than you’re used to. Whether your heart seems to be skipping, flipping, or leaping into your throat, you probably aren’t in danger. People frequently notice what feels like a skipped beat when they wake up after a bad dream, especially if they’ve been lying on their left side. Your heart is close to the chest wall on the left, and if you’re lying on that side, you are more likely to notice a skipped beat.
What can you do to prevent these frightening but harmless palpitations from recurring? So, some palpitations are caused by anxiety; just taking a deep breath and slowly exhaling will relieve tension and discourage future skips. Spending too little time at exercise (like walking) or other active pursuits like gardening can cause palpitations simply because you’re the heart, which is, after all, a muscle that is out of shape. To put your heart in peak condition, try to exercise 3 to 4 times a week for at least 30 minutes. You should work your body at 50 to 75% of its aerobic capacity.
If you’re walking, walk fast enough so that you can talk but not sing. Drinking alcohol can cause palpitations, and it is so injurious to the entire body. Don’t use alcohol at all; alcohol can cause palpitations. Overindulgence leads to what doctors have called a bubbled holiday heart. because of an irregular heartbeat experienced by those who overindulge at holiday parties and then end up in the emergency unit. But it can happen at any time of the year.
There may be no way to tell exactly how much alcohol it takes to interfere with you’re heartbeat because alcohol is bad in all conditions, nor can doctors tell in advance who will develop alcohol-induced palpitations and who won’t. So to help keep your heart on an even keel, many experts believe drinking alcohol is so injurious to your heart and causes palpitations. A drink is generally considered to be one measure of spirits or its equivalent in a cocktail: one 350-ml can, bottle, or mug of beer, or 150-ml of table wine.
Moreover, caffeine is what gives coffee, tea, chocolate, and even some over-the-counter headache remedies, for example, their stimulating effects. So if you’re bothered by palpitations, it makes sense to avoid anything containing caffeine. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarette smoke can constrict arteries and encourage heart palpitations. So if you smoke, quit.
If you exercise regularly, don’t overindulge, and a doctor has determined that you don’t have heart disease, yet you’re heart seems to occasionally skip a beat, chances are that you’re palpitations are nothing to worry about. If you don’t dwell on them, you’re less likely to notice repeat episodes. You need to see you’re a doctor when your heart seems to skip a beat—more than just momentarily or more than once in a while—you should see a doctor. Medical attention is also in order if you’re heart skips a beat and
You feel as though you are about to pass out
You also have swollen ankles or shortness of breath