How to Stop Heart Palpitations

Heart palpitations. Don’t these two words make you shudder with anxiety?

Well, maybe the words don’t, but the sensations caused by heart palpitations certainly do scare people.

In fact, it’s the main topic of emails that I get from people who contact me with questions.

And given that this anxiety symptom is so common among anxiety sufferers, I thought it would be helpful to do a “how to” article on palpitations.

First, a few basics. A heart palpitation is an abnormal beating of the heart AND your heightened awareness of your heart beat. Palpitations can cause your heart to beat fast (tachycardia), slow (bradycardia), flutter, or to even have ‘skipped’ heart beats (PVCs).

Heart palpitations can be caused by electrolyte imbalances, adrenaline, anemia, heart disease, arrhythmias, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and of course, anxiety disorders. There are more causes, but the ones listed are common.

Now, because heart disease could be involved, it’s always a good idea to see your doctor if you’re experiencing new or ongoing heart palpitations.

No need for fear, this is mainly a precaution to safeguard your health and your sanity. When you go to your doctor he/she will run an ECG and take some blood. If the results come back negative, then you can start your efforts to stop your heart palpitations without having to worry about having a heart attack.

How Palpitations Work

When related to anxiety, heart palpitations are triggered by the fight or flight response. If you’ve had problems with anxiety for any length of time then I highly recommend that you get acquainted with this term.

This is because the fight or flight response is the source of much of your misery, and a detailed understanding of it can help you to reduce stress. Because with knowledge comes less guess-work, more facts, and less anxiety.

So then, the fight of flight response is essentially your sympathetic nervous system gone wild. When you become scared, nervous, and worried, your brain will trigger a fear response, which, in turn, causes your body to undergo  a few changes, like:

  • Palpitations
  • Cold/Hot flashes
  • Dilated pupils
  • Urge to urinate
  • Diarrhea
  • Tunnel vision
  • Muscle tension

It’s also important to point out that palpitations are almost always accompanied by anxiety and panic.

Part of what also happens when the fight or flight response is triggered is that the brain signals the body to release stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, in preparation for violent action. But, in your case, there is no action to be taken.

The adrenaline and cortisol however  still get injected into your bloodstream, where it acts on the nerves of the heart and causes palpitations. So, in most cases, it’s adrenaline causing all the havoc but, there could also be other causes.

One such cause is electrolyte imbalance. Electrolytes are electrically charged ions. They include elements like: sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, sulfate, phosphate, bicarbonate, and magnesium.

These elements are important in maintaining proper voltage levels in the body, and are also critical to muscle function. The heart, as we all know, is a big muscle. If these electrolytes become imbalanced then palpitations can occur.

This is because electricity and contraction are what makes your heart beat and keep a rhythm. If there is a disruption in the electrical impulse, or the contraction of your heart muscle, then you get things like a fast, slow, or weak heart beats.

How to Stop Heart Palpitations

There are several ways to stop palpitations. If you’ve been cleared of heart disease by your doctor the following techniques can be effective.

1. Balancing electrolytes: When it comes to matters of the heart, the four most important electrolytes are potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium. If any of these electrolytes become too high or too low then palpitations may result.

A simple blood or urine test will tell your doctor if this is the case. If you have excessive/deficient levels of electrolytes then you can speak with your doctor about how to bring them back into balance.

In general, this would mean taking supplemental vitamins or increasing/decreasing the consumption of certain foods.

List of foods rich in the four major electrolytes include:

Potassium – See full list here.

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Milk
  • Orange Juice
  • Potatoes
  • Raisins
  • Wheat bread

Calcium – See full list here.

  • Dairy Products
  • Almonds
  • Beans
  • Tofu
  • humus
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Oatmeal

Sodium – See full list here.

  • Meats
  • Dairy products
  • Frozen foods
  • Snack foods
  • Canned food
  • Spices

Magnesium – See full list here.

  • Nuts
  • Cooked soybeans
  • Peanut butter
  • Yogurt
  • Milk

2. Diet: Diet is an important part of any anti-palpitation strategy. Here are a few more examples.

Foods that you want to eat more often would include:

  • Grapes
  • Guava
  • Honey
  • Fresh fruit and Vegetables
  • Whole wheat foods

Foods and activities that you should try to avoid include:

  • Foods that contain caffeine like chocolate, soft drinks, etc.
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking

3. Hydration: Water is a fundamental part of what you are. If you don’t drink enough water then even mild dehydration can create palpitations. You don’t need to go overboard and start walking around with a gallon of water, either. Many of the foods you eat already have water in them, but it’s still a good idea to drink about 5-8 8 oz cups per day.

4. Medication: You may also want to talk to your doctor about medications. Doctors will usually prescribe beta blockers, which block the effects of adrenaline on the body. This would be a good option after experiencing palpitations for a prolonged period of time.

5. Valsalva Maneuver: This technique can be used to stop a fast heart beat. First, pinch your nose and close your mouth. Next, breath out forcibly. The idea is to strain as if you were trying to defecate while holding your breath. This will cause a quick spike in heart rate, followed by a slowing of the heart rate. If you have heart disease, or are advanced in age, please do not try this maneuver.

6. Coughing: Coughing vigorously causes pressure to build in your chest, which “squeezes” your heart back into a normal rhythm. This is not a preventative measure, so do it when you’re actually having a palpitation.

7. Cold Water: Splash cold water on your face. This technique works well for palpitations and panic attacks. The idea behind this is that the cold water shocks your nervous system back to normal. The water should be as cold as possible.

8. Relax: Palpitations can strike at anytime, even while you sleep. As a result, they tend to startle you and make you feel as if you’re going to die at any moment.

This is why it’s important to not rush around in a panic, thereby adding stress to your racing heart. It’s best to have a seat, breath deeply from your stomach, and chill out for a moment.

9. Exercise: Exercise might sound like the opposite of what you want to do when you know that palpitations can occur. But after a good workout your blood pressure and heart rate will generally decrease.

This is why it’s not unusual for highly conditioned athletes – like Lance Armstrong – to have very low resting heart rates. A normal resting heart rate is between 70-80 beats per minute.  People that have conditioned bodies, on the other hand, can get their heart rates down in the 50’s or lower.

Let’s not forget that the heart is a muscle, and if it is worked, it will get stronger and more efficient and what it does. So despite the apparent contradiction, exercise is a great way to cope with palpitations absent any heart disease.

Caution: If your palpitations are accompanied by dizziness, blurred vision, chest pain or shortness of breath, then it could be something more serious. The unfortunate reality is that panic attacks and intense anxiety can mimic symptoms of a heart attack.

One of the tell-tale signs of something serious is severity and duration. If you have chest pain or the like continuously for more than a few minutes, and if the pain is severe, you likely have a problem. Always err on the side of caution though  and get checked out if you’re just not sure.

If, on the other hand, you’ve already been screened for heart disease and nothing was found, wait. Be patient and wait about ten minutes and the symptoms will usually die down on their own.

I know that heart palpitations can be frightening, but they are usually not dangerous. That’s why I encourage you to see your doctor if you haven’t already. Because once you’re cleared medically, you will have the confidence needed to cope with the fear tied to palpitations.

Understand that heart palpitations are a very normal part of having an anxiety disorder and stress in general. When they happen don’t over think things and start jumping to conclusions. Instead, try some of the techniques outlined above and try the best you can to not shock yourself with fear. I hope this helps.

 

Comments

  1. Jess says

    Ive been having palpitations for over a week now. I was exercising pretty hard on the treadmill and got short of breath (i thought this was just because i was flat out running, really pushing myself…) I finished my work out but the feeling remained all evening. Struggling to get my breath and fast heart, like it was thumping really hard. Had an ECG and blood work to rule out thyroid problems and was told it would probably pass. But 11 days on and my heart rate is still jumping between 70-125, during rest. I can feel it all the time. I went back to work at the end of last week to try and ‘distract’ myself from it all, but ended up having a full blown panic attack. Colleagues called the paramedics. Again ECG showed nothing and they said its all to do with anxiety. Ive been trying really hard since to calm my breathing down and do it more slowly. And although i’m still having to ‘catch’ that breath every so often its not nearly as bad. I think i was starting to relax about it a little, then today the doctor at a follow up appointment said my heart was doing extra beats and i should see a cardiologist. But an appointment is gonna be over a month wait. I’m so stressed out right now. My heart is going crazy all the time. I can’t stop thinking about it. Is it really all anxiety related?? Or is there some underlying heart condition. I know right now my anxiety levels must be through the roof, but i dont know how i can relax….
    Jess2348@hotmail.com (if anyone can relate or wants to talk…i’d really appreciate it)

  2. justin says

    So I am 24 I was in the military for 6 years and was in very good shape i could run 5 miles in 38 minutes. Then I hurt my back doing a restoration on a friends car and had to start taking pain killers, All was fine untill my Dr. gave me the generic version of a non-narcotic pain killer which I was allergic to so I ended up developing seritonin syndrome. Which hospitalised me. After that I have had an irregular heart beat accompanied by palpitations for the last year so it hasnt been easy but from all of the research that I have done. You will need to go to the Dr. and make sure you dont have a pre-existing heart problem and if you don then just ask your Dr. about beta blockers to keep your body from reacting to the adrenalin your body pumps out during yor anxiety attacks or when you have a fight or flight response and you should be fine I’ll be starting my beta blockers tomorrow. also home remedis are splasch ice cold water on your face, eat alot of grapes or bananas, and stay away from sugar caffeine and smoke. I have also found out that reading can help and or playing a fast paced game they help keep you occupied I hope this helps some of you cope.

  3. Jennifer S says

    It’s so interesting to me that many of the doctors want to rule everything out as anxiety. Maybe that’s why our society is so messed up. We’re all on anti-depressants. :-( At any rate, my only suggestion is to keep on the doctors. I have been to at least 5 different specialists (next appt is with a rheumatologist on 12/8/2011). At first, they thought it was anxiety, then it was due to a mass on my adrenal gland. Now that’s not the case. I have, however, noticed that I’ve developed an allergy to wheat. Celiac, along with many other disorders, can cause heart palps. Since changing my diet to gluten-free (this past week) the heart palps are minimal. Please stay on the doctors and make sure they are not treating the symptom, but the root of the problem. While the doctors have a lot of schooling and know more about the body than we do, we need to remember that the body is complex and doctors do not know everything. Keep the faith and don’t give up!

  4. Arlie says

    Hi Jess,
    The first thing to do is try to pull yourself together. Nothing is worth your health. Take the deepest breathes possible (expanding stomach). It may take numerous tries but the more you do it the better you will feel.
    Also, please take a long hard look at diet. (This is for everyone experiencing palpatations). What we put in our mouths totally affects our health. A plant based diet is the way to go. Lots of vegetables, some fruit, whole grains, beans, legumes, lentils, etc. Eliminate ALL fats. That includes oils, including the so-called heart healthy olive oil. It is still a fat with NO nutritional value whatsoever. Changing one’s diet not only makes you feel and be healthier, it takes the strain off the heart by lowering cholesterol and unclogging arteries. You want to do everything possible to get healthy. I have been on a plant based diet since Sept 23 and lost 3″ off my waist. (The concensus is if there is excess fat around the middle then in all probability there is fat around the heart). Also absolutely NO caffine!! No sugar! Sugar is one of the worst things for the heart. It’s sacrifice but it does work. Exercise, daily. A daily 20 minute brisk walk is all that’s needed to keep the tickering ticking properly. Hope this helps.

  5. sgroclkc says

    There are three main types of nightmares(death dreams or being chased dreams ,flying dreams or falling dreams and Incubus) that are caused by three main scary symptom {the scary sensations of palpitation make you feel as if you’re going to die at any moment[1], the scary sinking feeling in heart of palpitation and scary fainting (syncope) }. They are all different in certain ways. All three types of nightmares can lead to a scary heart palpitations-sensations. Scary Incubus or scary fainting (syncope) can lead to scary lightheaded and dizzy , a loss of strength and a loss of consciousness, perspiration, vision problems, difficulty hearing, ringing in your ears, pressure in your chest[2] and others do not.
    [1]http://www.anxietyguru.net/how-to-stop-heart-palpitations/
    [2]http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Fainting/Pages/Symptoms.aspx

  6. godsmack36 says

    I HAVE HAD PVC’S/PAC’S/TACHYCARDIA/ETC. EVER SINCE I GOT PARACARDITIS WHEN I WAS 23 YEARS OLD. I’M 48 NOW AND THEY STILL EXIST. OVER THE YEAR, I DEVELOPED A RAGING DRUG AND ALCOHOL PROBLEM IN AN EFFORT TO RUN FROM THE HORRIBLE ANXIETY CREATED BY THE HEART ARRHYTHMIAS. I’M NOT TRYING TO MAKE EXCUSES FOR MY ADDICTIONS, BUT ALWAYS THE UNDERLYING REASON FOR MY ANXIETY WAS MY HEART PALPITATIONS. I’VE BEEN CLEAN AND SOBER FOR ALMOST 2 YEARS NOW AND I STILL HAVE ALL THE WEIRD HEART BEATS. I’M LEARNING HOW TO DEAL WITH THE ANXIETY CREATED BY THIS PROBLEM, BUT IT’S DIFFICULT TO SAY THE LEAST. I EXERCISE, EAT RIGHT, ETC., BUT I STILL HAVE DAYS WHERE THE ARRHYTHMIA’S KICK MY ASS–I HATE IT. I’VE HAD EVERY TEST KNOWN TO RULE OUT HEART DISEASE AND ALL HAVE COME BACK NEGATIVE. HOWEVER, WHEN I GET A RUN OF PALPITATIONS, IT LITERALLY KNOCKS ME DOWN TO THE GROUND. IT’S A NEVER ENDING CYCLE; THE HEART PALPITATION CREATES ANXIETY, WHICH CREATES THE HEART PALPITATIONS, WHICH CREATE THE ANXIETY…….

  7. cw says

    wow… it is soothing to know i am not the only one!!! I have atrial flutter just had catheter ablation 44yr old mom of 4… for three years i was told i have anxiety… 3 yrs of my life i thought i had anxiety… but it never was… what happened was my heart would go back to sinus when i arrived at the er… yea i do need to slow down with kids and exercise and the stress of life because i always thought it was normal.. until last year when 158bpm was my heart rate at rest after playing floor hockey..it was Gods way of telling me to slow down… i am also on beta blockers because of my over kill adrenaline… yes now there are days after all this chaos in which i have to deep breath because of actual anxiety of all i have been through….. pray and breath i say…

  8. Chad Etris says

    Hey there, my name is Chad. I am a 24 year old male from Georgia. I’ve been dealing with anxiety and palpitations for around 5 years now. I’ve been to the doctor and ER several times to only get the same response… “you’re not dying” This has crippled me from a life in which I know I should be enjoying. So I decided to start running, taking vitamins, and eating right. I’ve been doing this for about a week now. Everything seemed fine up until about 2 nights ago when laying in bed I started to develop heart palps. Most of it has been happening at night before bed and in the morning. It happens throughout the days as well, but the other times of the day are when they are more frequent. I could really use some advice if someone thinks I’m doing something wrong or just to assure me that this too shall pass! My email is freudianslip1988@yahoo.com I’d love to hear from some others. Maybe exchange numbers and keep each other updated. Thank you for your time.

  9. Aither says

    I tend to have this problem as well. I’m nineteen, and this problem began when I was fourteen, following my starting on the medicine known as Concerta. After I was taken off this medication, two years later, I still have that problem. Given that I am slightly overweight now, I was not at the time. Regardless, these never cease to scare the living shit out of me, and I’d like to know if there are some alternatives, as opposed to having a pacemaker put in, as has been recommended by one of my doctors. I was thinking about taking on a very strict exercise program that involves all-day exercise. Do you think this would help?

  10. Kaysha says

    I am 23 i have suffered from panic disorder since my son was born 2 and a half years ago!! i have been on meds, had councelling and cognitive behavioural therapy!! all help in some way!! but its learning to cope again with certain sitiuations in life and once you tackle one you have more courage and confidence to do more!! But you have to test yourself and push yourself otherwise you will never get better!! i no longer take meds or have any kind of therapy!! i havent had a full blown panic attack for over a year although i still get anxious!! palpitations have never been one of my symptoms of anxiety but today i got them, i new what it was and remained calm, i rang my partner so i could hear a familiar voice and just sat down! the worst thing to do is worry!! the anxiety and worry is caused by our negative thinking!! so if you sit down and keep telling yourself you will be fine and that it will pass, it will pass alot quicker and wont progress into a worse attack!! If you sit and think you are going to die and that you cant breathe etc you will just panic more!! panic disorder is all in your head and with thinking more positively you will overcome it and when palpitations occur if you stay calm and think more positively they will pass quicker! i no im young but i have plenty of advice and ways to cope so if you need any advice just ask!! thanks for reading! x

  11. godsmack36 says

    LIKE I HAVE SAID BEFORE, I EXERCISE AND TRY TO EAT RIGHT-ACTUALLY, I WORK OUT LIKE A MAD MAN AND REALLY I EAT PRETTY CLEAN. I JUST THOUGHT I WOULD DROP A NOTE AND TELL EVERYBODY ABOUT A NEW THING I’VE HAPPENED UPON. I CAN’T REMEMBER WHETHER I READ THIS OR HEARD THIS, BUT ANYWAY I CAME UPON THE INFORMATION THAT EATING PINK SALMON CAN ALLEVIATE PALPITATIONS. I WAS PRETTY SKEPTICAL, BUT THOUGHT WHAT THE HECK, I’LL GIVE IT A TRY. AFTER ALL, I’VE TRIED PRETTY EVERYTHING ELSE-LEGAL AND NON LEGAL. I’VE BEEN EATING A CAN OF PINK SALMON A DAY FOR ABOUT A WEEK NOW AND I’M HAPPY TO REPORT THAT MY PALPITATIONS HAVE DECREASED DRAMATICALLY–I MEAN DRAMATICALLY! I DON’T KNOW IF THIS CAN BE CONNECTED TO EATING PINK SALMON, BUT I’M GOING TO RUN WITH IT FOR AS LONG AS I CAN. ANYWAY, I JUST THOUGHT I WOULD SHARE…

  12. warmy666 says

    omega 3’s are the secret….. great mood foods which in turn help palps…salmon, tuna, mayo and others are great sources…thanks for sharing

  13. David says

    I also have had heart palps for years. Sometimes I go for a while with none, and then I go through a spurt, like now, where I seem to experience them every day. It is a cycle when the palps cause anxiety and the anxiety causes other symptoms. Anxiety sucks!

  14. Brendea says

    been diagnosed with pac’s and pvc’s two years ago. I go through episodes of having a couple a day to up to 50 a day. Very annoying and wish I could figure out the trigger. Will try some of the above recommendations and would love to continuing hearing what works for others to get them to go away.

  15. liz seager says

    i have had palpitations since last april but mine is connected to my face pain after my trigeminal nerve was damaged. i take magnesium and b12 everyday and if i stop either one i know it. i wore the halter for a day and had 162 episodes. i’ve learned to live with it but it would be nice not to have them. i also do a workout if i feel the palpitations this sets things right,

  16. khan says

    I been having these palpitation over the last 3 years now. I was collapsed suddenly on the road when i had first time and was soo much panic as well. becuase i could only feel heart beats nothing else. however i had on not more than 2 mints episode, doctors prescribe be some beta blockers knowns as bisoprolol tablets. I take this tablet everyday still, i try to leave taking tablest recently but symptoms of palpitation started reappearing again. so, i taking tablest agian. but i never suffere palpitaiton since i started taking these tablets. I also got some anxiety or panic attacks, as i always try to avoid going into crowd or tall buildings or going into lift etc. but i also know that, even if go these places will not cause palpitation but i am just scared after haveing these palpitation.

    The important thing which caused me palpitation i think are Red bull, coffiee, too much tea, less drinking water and all those phsy drinks etc.

    i would adivce people not have too much of above things. Drinking cold milk, and water and chaning your diet are very helpful to cure this unpleasent things.

  17. Corliss says

    These stories sound so familiar, I started having palpitations when I was around 12 years old and I’m 54 now and I still get freaked out about it. When my husband talks about retirement, I avoid the subject because I think I won’t make it til then, but after hearing your stories, I think maybe it’s just something I have to live with. Thanks for all your comments…it helps to know I’m not alone!

  18. Kristina says

    Consider the possibility you are low on Magnesium! I would highly suggtest reading “The Magnesium Miracle” by Dr. Carolyn Dean. Anxiety, stress, insomnia, heart palps are all some of the biggest indicators that you are low on Magnesium. And your adrenaline burns up even more of what little you may have in your body. I had panic attacks for 2 months and high anxitey and palps for a year until I read about Magnesium. Now, I sleep through the night and the anxiety is gone. Our fruits and veggies don’t contain enough Magnesium these days. You need to supplement. There is a Magnesium powder you can take called Natural Calm that has worked wonders for me. Also, women, look into natural Progesterone cream..men can use it too. It will balance out your hormones. The imbalance causes heart palps as well.

  19. Jodie says

    There is a great forum called skippinghearts.com. Really supportive group of people that can relate to all kinds of heart issues. Most benign!

  20. Christina says

    @Kristina,
    There are so many different reasons why people have heart palpatations but you never know about the magnesium thing….it just might help some which is great. I tried the Progesterone cream because I am starting menopause (only 42 years old) which I thought could only help because it was natural but because I also have epilepsy the progesterone cream made my seizures worse. Plus that stuff gave me the worst headaches ever. I just wanted to let people know that have epilepsy out there to be careful with this stuff.

  21. Becky Ivey says

    I have suffered from palps since I can remember. Usually they last for about 6 weeks at a time and then they seem to subside for a while. I’ve had them this time since before Thanksgiving. I was diagnosed with Anxiety/Panic Disorder when I was 19. I am now 37. I made an appt yesterday with a Cardiologist-I see him Monday. I want to make sure there is nothing wrong. I get so worked up about my palps that I it consumes me.I almost feel like I’m losing my mind. Hoping the MD is helpful.

  22. warmy666 says

    hi Kristina i believe your statement, i take a glass of milk with my calcium/magnesium and vit d and i sleep great…. what do you do for the day though… how much is enough? My greatest days are when i menstrate because both hormones are balanced at that time… but most of the month our progestorne is low and gradually increases. Does the cream really work? I am 44 and do not want to go on birthcontrol pills… plus i have a heart rhythm problem that has given me much of my anxiety the whole last year.

  23. Marc says

    Thanks everyone for the comments. I have had them at different times the last few years, mostly related to stress and anxiety and fear about something…. I am having them agaim all day today, and that is why I am reading here. Today is also from stress and worry about finances and a tax issue…. I guess those can be pretty stressful for many people!

    I usually take magnesium and other vitamins, but because of travel I just now realize that I did not take any vitamins for 48 hours now and really did not do much exercise the last 3 or 4 days either or probably did not get enough water, and had lots of stress before and with the 30 hours travel across 10 time zones and 4 airports with the same about of going through security and taking off your shoe, etc each time and long line at customs in Chicago and not much sleep at all. OK, now that I think about it more, jeeze, anyone would have heart palpitations after all that! So, I am off to take magnesium and the rest of my multi vitamins and some fish oil tabs! I also feel like I need to go for a run, my body has been feeling like that would help and so it was interesting to see the article here talking about how running and exercise can help stop heart palpitations. SO for me, it seems to be from many sources…. and that fixing the paperwork, getting more good exercise runs in, sleeping and eating better will all help. (by the way, the annoying Captcha thing you have to always fill out to submit a comment.. its one of the daily computer things that gives me a little anxiety because sometimes you cant even figure out one of the words. Just a subtle thing that bugs you, but I think that lots of little and big daily things add up nowadays more than ever to give us all more stress! Dont you think the same about all the technology hassels we have now?)

  24. Marc says

    BTW, I dont want to only complain about the stresses that come with technology and “the modern world” … at the same time I am in awe of all that can happen with it…. I mean, I took a journey from Eastern Europe to California in 30 hours that 200 or more years ago would have taken your life savings, and terrible risk of life, and taken 30 days or more likely much longer, and for the most part would have just been impossible for 99% of the population to ever do! And with the computers we can also quickly search and find an article and information on just about anything in a minute or two…. so, there are great things about technology and computers and jet aircraft travel, but it does seem like there are more and more (or at least different kinds of) anxiety causing things as society gets more and more complex.

  25. godsmack36 says

    I HATE THE HORRIBLE FEELING OF IMPENDING DOOM WHEN I AM IN A PANIC ATTACK. I DON’T GET FULL BLOWN PANIC ATTACKS VERY OFTEN, BUT WHEN I DO, F?@# ME! EVERY PALPITATION OR MINOR MUSCLE ACHE SENDS ME INTO THE THOUGHT THAT THIS IS THE “BIG ONE”. I CAN LITERALLY CONVINCE MYSELF THAT I’M GOING TO DIE. AND HOLY SHIT-HERE I GO. EVERY MISERABLE SECOND THAT PASSES, IS WORST THAN THE LAST. I FIND MYSELF HITTING MYSELF, STOMPING AROUND OR FIDGETING ENDLESSLY , JUST TO TAKE MY MIND OFF THIS LITERAL HELL THAT I’M IN. I’VE DEVELOPED ALOT OF TOOLS TO DEAL WITH ANXIETY, BUT WHEN I HAVE A SEVERE ANXIETY ATTACK, I DON’T EVEN HAVE A TOOL BOX AND I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO GET ONE! ANYWAY, THIS WILL PASS, AFTER I THROW UP A FEW TIMES, PUNCH SOME WALLS OR SCREAM AT A HOLY ENTITY, THAT I DON’T EVEN BELIEVE IN. HATE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Kristina says

    warmy666 – I take 1/4 tsp of the progesterone cream, 2x/day.

    godsmack36 – I know how you are feeling and I have had the exact same thoughts when I was experiencing the panic attacks. My first one was when I was by myself on a 6 lane highway during rush hour with no where to get off for 20 minutes. I continued to have several a day for the next month and 1/2 before I ran across a program and a method that took them away for good. I encourage you to give it a try. When you feel the panic come on, DON’T FIGHT IT. Relax and let it come on. Examine how you feel. Let it get worse. When you are in full on panic, then ASK FOR MORE. NO JOKE. Tell your thoughts to race more, your head to pound more, your stomach to get more sick feeling, your hands to tremble and sweat more and yes, tell your body to make your heart palpitate even harder. When you take over, the panic can’t and it will subside. It’s like those chinese finger handcuffs. you know the harder you try to pull your fingers out, the tighter it squeezes your fingers. It’s only when you relax, that you can easily pull your fingers out. Same with the panic. THe more you try to fight it, the worse it gets, and even worse yet, the worse and more frequent the next attacks are. Try it – it will take a few times, but you will eventually diffuse the panic attacks for good. You will have good and bad days – keep at it ’til you are panic free. Oh and about the holy entity you scream at but don’t believe in. Can I encourage you to give Him a shot? He truly loves you and cares about what you are going through. Ask Him for help with this. It will come in amazing ways. He is allowing this in your life for a reason and you will be a stronger and more confident, happy person on the other side of this panic hell. I know that for a fact. I’m living proof. Hang in there. God loves you.

  27. Corliss says

    I’m so sorry you have to through that, I can only remember having a panic attack once and I almost called 911…It was a horrible feeling. I hope you feel better soon…Take care!

  28. godsmack36 says

    THANKS EVERYBODY FOR THE COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS, I TRULY DO APPRECIATE THEM ALL. I’M OVER THE INTENSE PANIC AND AM IN SOMEWHAT CONTROL. IN MY “SANE” MIND I KNOW THAT I JUST HAVE TO WALK THROUGH THE PANIC AND EVERYTHING WILL TURN OUT, BUT SOMETIMES WHEN I’M IN IT AND AT WORK OR AN ACTIVITY, THE COMMITTEE OF 3 YEAR OLDS IN MY HEAD TAKE OVER AND I’M AT THEIR MERCY. ANYWAY, I’LL LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY. AGAIN, THANKS EVERYBODY FOR THE ENCOURAGING COMMENTS.

  29. Alex says

    I have had a couple of attacks (not heart attacks) – That have led me into hospital (at advice of medical hotlines due to symptoms)

    My symptoms are:

    Dizziness and feeling like I’m seperating from this world (I know, sounds weird aye?)
    Heart rate at 160bpm
    Temperature constantly changing
    Chest pains
    Feeling of about to die (people say just calm down, but when you feel like you’re going to have a heart attack- not that easy)
    Muscle spasms

    I’m not dead yet (they say I have little to no risk because I’m 16)- But it isn’t an enjoyable way to live your life if you are in constant awareness of heart and constantly trying not to increase heart rate too much…

    I went to hospital last-night (as-well as before Christmas)- The symptoms I were experiencing are above, they did a chest x-ray, blood tests, ecg and constant monitoring. They said I have no apparent problems, but the palpitations themselves could be long-term, which in itself could become a problem.

    Personally myself in total honesty, I think it was years of smoking cannabis and heavy smoking…

  30. Nick says

    Hello, I have had palpitations since I was about 14 or 15, they started when my anxiety got worse and worse and now when I have more episodes of anxiety I get more heart skip beats. I had an EKG and my heart is normal but it still is a scary moment when my heart skips a beat or I get the sensation of a pounding heart. Sometimes I get them 4 or 5 times a day for weeks or sometimes I don’t get them at all for weeks. I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Anxiety disorder two years ago (I am 19 now) and I have made milestones in recovering from this disorder without medication. Still though when I have a skip beat I get freaked. One thing I do when my heart skips a beat is notice my body (I hope this helps someone in my same place). I stop and take a breather, I notice that my body is tense and my palms and feat are sweaty, and whenever I would be on the verge of a panic or anxiety attack the top of my head spikes. It’s a weird feeling like the nerves on the top of my head are on edge, and at least for me, if I recognize that I am getting anxious I can understand that anxiety is the cause of it. Another thing I do is when it happens I ask myself how many times has this happened before? At least 200-300 times in my life, and almost every time it happens I get obsessive about it, thinking “what if I die?” My best advice is to move on from it, leave it behind move on. Don’t dwell on it or freak out just go be with people that make you happy or go do something that you enjoy, and if you notice it a lot and are concerned go to the doctor for a check up. Another thing I noticed is that if my heartbeat speeds up very fast in a short amount of time then slows down very fast in a short amount of time it can beat irregularly i.e. after I exercise it can happen. Lastly I think it is a good thought to know that we are not alone in it, look at everyone who has these conditions and are still living, and knowing that other people are fighting the same fight you are is pretty empowering. Hope my advice helps at all in any way.

  31. Nick says

    THIS ONE IS TO ALEX WHO POSTED 1/25/12- Hey man I was just like you, I am a year out of highschool and I had the exact same symptoms, you definitely have an Anxiety disorder. I had every single on of those symptoms and it scared me every day of highschool. It does get better, I was in some low points always afraid to leave the house or thinking I was going to have a heart attack. But all I can say is every symptom you have I have had exactly and know exactly what you are talking about. I hope you read this because you should try seeing someone for it to determine if you need an anti depressant for it, I did for awhile but I got off it and my improvement with my disorder has been day and night. I stopped getting dizzy and the chest pains are most likely caused from back muscle spasms just f.y.i. and yes I hate that out of body feeling that was the worst like you weren’t in your body. Another thing I suggest Alex is when you freakout breath into a paper bag, it slows down your heart rate which subsequently calms you down, it worked for me! There are also a great number of books that deal with anxiety and panic disorders. Look into Anxiety disorders, you need to learn to cope with it before it takes over your life (like it did with me). Hope you get this!

  32. Sam says

    I’m 16 and I jhave these sometimes! It scares me and makes me feel weird. Any advice to calm me down about this? It makes me nervous.

  33. Jane says

    Just a question.
    Have any of you guys with heart palpitations ever checked your temperatures?
    I am wondering if there is a connection.

  34. Corliss says

    I can’t believe after all these years and doctor visits with no answers that it has never been a physical problem!!!! I have not been diagnosed with anxiety disorder but after reading some of your blogs, I now know thats what I have been dealing with all these years, and I remember the exact day it started…I was 12 and my Dad left my Mom, baby brother, and I with nothing. I was sooooo worried about my Mom that I was having heart palpitations and I told the teacher I was sick so she would call my Mom to come and get me from school. That was, I hate to say…over 40 years ago. I am so greatful to find this site…I still get some major heart palpitations that scares the daylights out of me espicially because there is heart disease in my family. I also have a mild case of OCD that I deal with everyday and didn’t connect the two until I read some blogs on this site. I think just realizing I am not alone and that we can live productive lives helps me a lot..I have been feeling better lately because of all you…THANK YOU ALL FOR SHARING!

    Corliss L

  35. pete brady says

    Hey guys, Im a 39 white male from mississippi and ive been suffering from anxiety panic disorder for 12 years now. Ive read so many books and websites on the internet and i cant tell you how many trip ive made to the er and heart specialist, just to hear that im fine. If any of you want to talk about this situation, i believe i can help. You can contact me a 6014989661. thanks pete

  36. ewen says

    Hi guys,
    im 42 male live in Australia and have had palpitations from age 15, like a lot of comments here i have been given no real Explanation as to why i get them, i have now started Coralan been on it for 15 days and seems to be helping in the amount of palps i get, im having a new ultra sound done in march with a new Specialist , i think its Important to find a doctor that will take the time to check you out, ewencoull@optusnet.com.au if anyone wants to chat

  37. Fredde says

    Great website to discover if misery loves company. It is helpful to know about others. Comforting. I have cycled through the heart palps numerous times and here I go again. Magnesium does help calm the palps but remember that magnesium is a key ingredient in laxatives so if you start having bowel issues, keep that in mind.

  38. Bee says

    Hi you all. Read a book called “The Power Of Now”. It has helped me tremendously with my Palpitations. I found that living in the past and anticipating the future really triggers my anxiety. Also my mind is the biggest contributer to my Palpitations. This book has help me to focus on the Now and not to think with my mind. By not dwelling in the past, I have no more trapped energy in my body that was making me sick. Also by not thinking to much about about the future, I have decreased my anxiety and therefore my blood pressure and pulse rate are in the normal range. I hope you all find relief in some way if not by reading this book.

  39. georgina says

    hi, ive been suffering with panic attacks since having my daughter 6 yrs ago n having severe postnatal depression.It is extreemely difficult to live with some days so i know where you are comming from.Some days i can go all day with no symptoms(usually palps)n the next few days they are on off.Ive had an ecg n it came back clear, im going the hospital today for blood tests but even the thought of walking there is frightning me as im scared my heart is going to race if i do anything energetic!Im 33 n have 4 wonderful children im so scared im going to die i just want to be here for them.
    I also get the feeling of unreality n have been reassured it is part of anxiety but it is disturbing at the time.

  40. Adam says

    I am 30 and I have been suffering from palps for 3 years or so but the anxiety really just started to set in a couple of months ago. My first anxiety attack was after a night if indulging in a bit too much Cabernet with my family on our holiday in Florida this past Christmas. My attack came on in the middle of Downtown Disney (if you’ve been there then you know how bad of a place that is to experience your first attack). I literally thought I was going to keel over right in the middle of thousands of people. Anyways I’ve been to the doctor to have my heart checked twice and I’ve been told that I am completely healthy but my blood pressure is a bit high. For anyone who is suffering from palps and anxiety (I’m sure you are if you’re reading this) I would strongly encourage you have your BP checked. My doctor insists this is what is causing these problems! Since I spoke to him I’ve make some necessary lifestyle changes to try and nip this in the bud. I limit myself to 2 drinks if I decide to drink (toughest one for me because I’m in the wine wholesale business) I exercise every day (hour of cardio and some lifting) I’m eating a lot healthier, cut out sodium almost completely and I’m trying to incorporate more potassium rich foods into my meals. I’ve also started deep breathing exercises and 15 minutes of stretching every morning and I find this has helped me immensely!

    I still do experience the occasional mild wave of anxiety and panic, like if I feel a pain in my arm or my chest I tend to go into freak-out mode but if I just close my eyes and take some long deep breaths I find that my anxiety goes away pretty quick.

    I hope that this can be of some help to anyone who is looking for a bit of guidance. It’s great to have found a forum like this that has a small community of us that just want to help each other. Take care of your body because you only get one!

  41. warmy666 says

    georgina, believe me, i also have 4 kids and i do have a heart problem in which i was also told in the emergency 5 yrs ago that i had a panic attack… my life changed from that moment because i thought i was dying.. it hit me for no reason..just last year i was playing floor hockey and very athletic at the age of 44 in which my heart would not go back to sinus so i went in to the er and was diagnosed as atrial flutter in which for 2 months until my catheter ablation i was a constant anxiety wreck… every little symptom i thought i was having a heart attack…. listen…. you are fine.. please find comfort in my words… the palpatations can be controlled by breathing and focusing on the good…i believe in the Lord…. he was my only hope because who is around when you feel like crap and think weird thoughts other than your kids? it is our God almighty in which you can pray and be thankful for all your blessings…the Lord and breathing helps me all of the time… we are not in control of what happens…so let it go and enjoy every moment in a happy yet grateful way…. also eat happy foods.

    good luck and email me if you need to … Cathy

  42. Steve says

    I was reading on this site to try to find answers. I have went through all of the test as well ekg, stress test, heart ultrasound and the all came back good. Also have seen every doctor possible my primary doctor keeps going back to stress and anxiety she even prescribed me Xanax been taking it when I have an episode (oh yeah I also take a beta-blocker heart Dr thought it would help with palpitations) but neither of these work I am still having all my symptoms which include heart palpitations, dizziness, headaches, chest pain, excessive sweating all are constant except for palpitations they come and go and usually last 12 hours or so each time. It is really starting to affect my life, I guess I’m too stubborn to say its anxiety especially with the Xanax not helping. Thank you for your time.

  43. Ricky says

    Gee whiz I am 62 and it’s amazing that 16 year olds are suffering from these anxiety or panic attacks. I was diagnosed 3 years ago with stress induced panic attacks and was put on beta blockers. These dropped my heart beats to 49/51 per minute and I ended up in Hospital for a week while I was weaned off the beat blockers. I was given a blood pressure tablet, aspirin and Xanor (similar to Xanax). I have had the whole array of tests for excessive hard (strong) heartbeats including the holter ecg, but nothing showed anything abnormal.
    I changed my job 8 months ago and, although I work even harder now with a lot of physical stuff thrown in ( I’m supposed to be in sales, but act as delivery boy at times and lug 25litre drums of detergents around!!) but I don’t have the stress and I am so much the better for it. my palps are like one every 2 weeks and the doc says I must now wean off the Xanor. This will take about 4 months. so I will see then what the situation is.
    What all the above rambling suggest is to check your STRESS LEVELS because as a lot of subscribers have said they feel like excercising and this is the best way to relieve stress beside from changing you job or getting rid of the “STRESSER” in your life. GBYA God Bless You All

  44. georgina says

    hi cathy, thanks for your message its great to have your support.I really do try n think positive its just very difficult sometimes.I phoned docs today for bloodtests results n the secertary said the doc wants to see me, ive got an app in 2 hours really hope its nothing serious !you sound like a very strong person i wish i could be more like u hun.I was just looking up the catheter ablation n it terefied me i hope its been a sucsess for you.I wasnt sure how to get your email addy up x

  45. jackie says

    Hi i am 28 years old i have anxiety, panic attacks, i also suffer with tachycardia and shortness of breath and heart palpitaIONs. i have had a stress test echocardiogram ekgs and nothing shows up. my heart paplitations feel like my heart stops beatings and it starts shaking does anyone else experience that feeling and if so let me know. i feel like im crazy.

  46. Ricky says

    Hi Jackie – Yes I too have these “shakes”. Check your pulse (at your wrist or neck). If its steady and strong then get up and walk around. I know that sometimes I get these shakes and the last thing I feel doing is walking around, but it really helps me. after about 5 – 10 minutes the shakes ease off and I’m back to normal (Normal ?? what’s that!!)

  47. Corliss says

    Hi Jackie, Thats exactly how my palps act…it feels like my heart is going to stop and then it beats irregular…and finally it beats normally but my chest doesn’t feel right for a long time after that…so stressful!!!!!!

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