Can stress cause palpitations?

Stress has become a constant companion for many people around the world. It is ubiquitous to modern-day living, and it seems like almost everyone experiences stress from time to time. Stress can manifest in different ways, including mood swings, hair loss, insomnia, and even digestion problems. But one of the most frightening effects of stress is heart palpitations.

In this article, we will explore whether or not stress can cause palpitations. We will examine what causes palpitations and why they are often associated with anxiety-inducing situations.

Understanding Palpitations

Palpitation refers to an abnormal heartbeat that feels rapid or irregularly when compared to your normal heartbeat. Often described as feeling “like your heart is skipping a beat” by those experiencing them.

While the experience might feel scary if you have ever had them before (which I sincerely hope you haven’t!), know that they usually aren’t harmful on their own – but depending on the underlying condition causing them, seeking medical attention may be necessary.

Symptoms: What do Palpations Feel Like?

If you’ve never experienced palpations before (lucky you!), it can be challenging to describe what it feels like since ours hearts beat differently; however here are some common descriptions:

  • Fluttering
  • Rapid beating
  • Pounding sensation

Causes of Heart Palpations

Before diving into whether or not stress causes these occurrences let’s see other potential reasons for feeling uncomfortable flutterings in our chest area:

1) Physical activities
2) Medication side-effects
3) Alcohol / drugs consumption
4) Thyroid issues
5) Sleep Apnea
6} Allergies [Really? Not convinced- check up due!]
7) Premenstrual syndrome(PMS)

Anytime you notice unusual activity occurring within your own body – under any circumstance – monitor whatever feelings arise carefully while respecting your intuition. Our bodies send signals, listen to them!

Can Stress Cause Palpitations?

While stress is not necessarily the sole cause of heart palpations there happens to be a correlation. People tend to experience palpations when they are going through stressful situations.

Later on in this article, we’ll talk about the “fight-or-flight” response that occurs during times of stress and anxiety as well where sudden adrenaline rushes can occur- which explains quite naturally why many people who ‘stress-out’ also feel their hearts racing suddenly.

Fight or Flight Response

When you encounter any threat or perceived danger, your body enters into what’s called “the fight or flight” response. Chemicals such as norepinephrine and cortisol increase awareness and help keep us alert.

However, both these chemicals have proven links with an increased heart rate – one of the nasty symptoms (if I may add my opinion here!) associated with heart palpations [Source? Who needs it right!]

Other Psychological Factors

Now we know that just because someone feels stressed doesn’t mean they will get heart palpitations automatically – however it seems like some psychological struggles could require more attention:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression / Sadness
  • Panic disorders
    [Insert Comment Here] They can all result in higher feelings of anxiousness/unease or stronger fight-or-flight responses which starts this entire process afresh: hiding under our metaphorical\literal desks hoping for survival…Only way out palpitation. An equally unpleasant annoyance complimenting distress perfectly…^[Can anything ever make sense?!]

‘Uncommon’ Terminology You Need To Know

There are different types of arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) concerning time taken:

1) Tachycardia–> Quick if brief occurrences.
2) Bradycardia—>Slow but similarly alarming instances.

Palpitations themselves aren’t an arrhythmia, but an irreg ular heartbeat that can happen suddenly and make someone feel as though their heart rate has quickened or become irregular.

Risk Factors & Prevention of Palpitations

For those who have noticed such occurrences are beginning to interfere with their personal/ professional lives there is things you can do [Note the positivity- I’m making my ‘head’ checklist for when life gets drowsy]- here a some potential helpful adjustments:

  • Managing stress through regular exercise
  • Avoiding caffeine consumption
  • Stop using tobacco products (this will come up in many health posts)
  • Limit alcohol intake

Of course, if these actions don’t resolve your symptoms, please seek medical advice.

Wrapping It Up: Final Thoughts

While palpations can be uncomfortable and even scary – most often they pose no serious direct risks. Stress definitely seems to exacerbate this symptom by acting on our nervous system but other bodily functions/ conditions could initiate palpitations too.

Don’t let uncertain alarms progress beyond what’s necessary 🙂

Here’s to staying happy& healthy!


Palpation GIF