What Makes Your Heart Skip a Beat?
Everyone has had their heart to “skip a beat”. Often, when people say “my heart skipped a beat”, it means that they are nervous, excited, or surprised about something. Some people complain of their heart skipping a beat to mean that they are actually worried about heart disease. In this article, we will discuss what the literal meaning of your heart skipping a beat means.
When people speak of their heart skipping a beat, they are usually talking about palpitations. The definition of palpitations is “is a common, unpleasant, and often alarming awareness of heartbeats.
It may result from the increased conscious perception of the normal cardiac rhythm or from any cardiac arrhythmia producing changes in heart rate, rhythm, or contraction pattern, and maybe reported as a skipping, pounding, fluttering, or similar sensation.”
The most common form of palpitation is a premature ventricular contraction (PVC).
What Does it Mean When my Heart Skips A Beat
In a person that does not have any kind of heart disease, it is normal to have PVC’s. If a person has heart disease and they have PVC’s or palpitations, they need to be seen by a healthcare provider.
There are several reasons why a person’s heart can appear to be skipping a beat. Palpitations are characterized as a general or heightened awareness of your own heartbeat – whether it’s too fast, too slow, or otherwise irregular.
Reasons Why People Have Palpitations or Skipped Beats
There are several reasons why a person’s heart can appear to be skipping a beat. Some of these reasons are :
- Electrolyte imbalance specifically magnesium and potassium. The heart needs potassium and good sources of magnesium in order for the heart to function. The heart is an “electrical system”, and it needs electrolytes to function.
- Caffeine- Caffeine is a stimulant to the heart. Caffeine increases heart rate and blood pressure.
- Stress and anxiety make a person more prone to palpitations because of the nervous system.
- Dehydration and low blood sugar can cause palpitations.
- Smoking and nicotine can cause palpitations.
- Cardiac structural diseases of the heart can cause palpitations.
- Eating processed foods or spicy foods
Signs and Symptoms of Palpitations
- Fast heart rate
- Slow Heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Low blood pressure
- Feeling faint
- Feeling your heartbeat in your chest
- If palpitations occur after eating it could be a sign of a Vagus nerve problem.
Heart Palpitations Treatment
- Often just using magnesium and increasing foods in potassium will stop palpitations. However, if a person has kidney disease, they should be careful about the amount of potassium that they consume.
- Certain medications such as beta-blockers will help or eliminate.
- Decreasing stress such as yoga or meditations has been shown to be effective.
- Eliminating a diet high in carbs.
- In extreme cases, a person might have to have an ablation done. An ablation is a procedure to scar or destroys tissue in your heart that’s allowing incorrect electrical signals to cause an abnormal heart rhythm.
Palpitations can be scary, but they can be managed. Palpitations can be managed with lifestyle changes. What makes your heart skip a beat is usually related to electrolytes such as magnesium and potassium.
Before you start to supplement, be sure and discuss it with your physician.
My name is Phyllis Robinson MSN, RN. I have been a Registered Nurse for 27 years in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. I am passionate about cardiac care and heart disease. I also want this blog to be an educational tool that people can refer to for traditional and alternative treatment. I will blog on heart disorders such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, and high cholesterol.
I received my Nursing degree from Baltimore Community College.
I went on to receive my Masters in Nursing from Walden University
I have worked for almost 30 years in Critical Care with a focus on heart health. I am an advocate of preventive healthcare.