A normal heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute in a resting state. The heartbeat should be regular and steady. You can measure it by placing your fingers on your neck or wrist and counting your pulse. When your heartbeat is more rapid or irregular, you’re experiencing heart palpitations.
Although heart palpitations feel unsettling, they are usually harmless. According to Mayo Clinic, a fast heartbeat can occur in situations where the heart has to work a bit harder, such as:
On more seldom occasions, heart palpitations are a symptom of an underlying medical condition. The serious health conditions that can trigger a racing heart are:
If you notice your heart rate is faster than it should be, talk to your doctor so that you’re able to rule out any serious health conditions. Unless your doctor finds a cause, heart palpitations on their own do not require medical care. In the meantime, try these 8 effective home treatments to improve a fluttering heart.
The Valsalva maneuver is a breathing technique capable of restoring a normal heart rate when your heart is beating too fast. It entails breathing out with force while holding your nose closed. This movement creates just enough strain for your heart to react and return to a normal rhythm. People who suffer from heart disease, a damaged retina in the eye, or an implanted eye lens should consult their doctor before performing this technique.
Here’s how to perform the Valsalva maneuver:
1. Sit in a chair or lie down.
2. Inhale deeply and hold your breath.
3. Cover your nose with your fingers so that no air is able to escape.
4. Close your mouth.
5. Contract the abdominal muscles and push, as if you’re trying to go to the bathroom, and breathe out simultaneously.
6. Continue straining for 10-15 seconds.
This should help your heart rate slow down in around 20 minutes. If this doesn’t happen and your fast heart rate persists, seek emergency care.
The vagus nerve is a large and important neural connection that links your brain and heart. It’s actually two nerves that run down from your brain on the sides of your neck towards the heart, lungs, and digestive tract. Stimulating the vagus nerve can remedy a fast heartbeat. There are several ways you can stimulate the vagus nerve, but make sure to consult a doctor before you try it.
1. Lie down and cough, gag, or chant “om” a few times.
2. Lie down, hold your breath, and simultaneously contract your abs for 15-20 seconds.
3. Jump in a cold shower, wash your face with cold water, or apply a cold compress to your face for 30 seconds. The refreshing cold water stimulates the vagus nerve.
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Dehydration is known to make the heart work harder and cause heart palpitations. This happens for two reasons:
1. Not enough water in your blood makes it thicker. The thicker your blood, the harder it is for your heart to circulate it throughout the body.
2. Low levels of electrolytes - molecules that transfer electrical signals throughout the body and regulate the heart rate.
In order to slow down your heart rate, you’ll need to drink plenty of fluids and restore the electrolyte balance in your blood. Potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium are all examples of electrolytes. You can get enough electrolytes from nutrition. While most of us get enough sodium already, the remaining electrolytes can be obtained from:
Many substances are capable of speeding up your heartbeat and causing heart palpitations. Anyone who’s ever had one too many cups of coffee will know this. Eliminating potentially harmful substances wherever possible can help restore your heartbeat. Although the sensitivity to different stimulant substances varies from person to person, here are common triggers:
If you’re taking prescription medications that increase your heart rate, consult a professional to help you find alternatives or adjust your dosage.