Submitted by Dr T on December 8, 2010 – 10:11am
It sounds like your change in heart beat (called palpitation or arrhythmia) is causing you to have symptoms, another reason for further investigations. The first thing to find out is whether your heart is healthy otherwise, so you need to have some blood tests (including Thyroid), an EKG and 24 hour monitoring. That will determine what your rhythm is like. If this helps you to stop smoking, so much the better!
You can read more about heart rhythm here:
You’ll find these are rather common complaints and most people don’t need treatment, only reassurance once their heart proves OK otherwise.
Whatever the examination of your rhythm will show, you need to consider the things YOU can change. Look at this list and see whether any apply to you:
- Toxins, including alcohol.
- Stimulants such as Caffeine, Nicotine and/or Cocaine can cause serious ventricular arrhythmias.
- Some over-the-counter medications and herbal/natural formulations contain important stimulants
- Some cases are simply “normal variants”, occurring in otherwise normal individuals.
- Abnormal levels of “electrolytes” (minerals) in the blood. Decreased potassium and/or magnesium are the most common associated abnormalities of electrolytes. Both may be caused by the use of diuretics (water pills), among other reasons.
- A variety of underlying cardiac conditions, including coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, mitral valve prolapse, etc.
- There are unusual congenital (familial) causes of ventricular arrhythmias.
- Abnormal conditions such as increased thyroid hormones, and others.
- Infections, inflammation or degeneration of the heart muscle.
- Infections at other sites in the body.
- Symptoms are often worse with lack of sleep, or stress.
Hope this helps,