What Causes Heart Palpitations? Eight Common Causes

One of my patients, who works at Starbucks, says some customers ask for up to ten added shots of espresso in their morning cup of coffee. Others prefer the canned energy drinks found at gas stations. If one of those is you, go ahead and skip the rest of this article. You know why your heart is racing.

However, if you’re confounded by your heart skipping, jumping, missing a beat, and then beating twice as fast to make up for it, and you haven’t had ten shots of java, what should you do? Unless you have an underlying heart condition, don’t go running off to the medical doctor until you’ve taken some time to review this list of eight common causes of heart palpitations.

1. Some medications like albuterol work by stimulating the sympathetic (“fight or flight”) nervous system. Basically, they work like a shot of adrenaline. Ask about herbs that can regulate inflammation in the bronchial tubes to decrease the chances of an emergency attack. Here at Chiropractic Advantage, we carry Broncafect by Standard Process/MediHerb.

2. Flavor enhancers in processed foods can trigger allergic reactions. Think MSG. Even if you are a health food nut, you need to watch out for alternative names for MSG like “hydrolyzed vegetable protein.” Check this excellent article by Dr. John Douillard, D.C.

3. “Stress.” What exactly does that mean? It means your body has been overstimulated by something it regards dangerous. Just like a cornered animal, your body is programmed to respond to stress by activating a number of fight or flight mechanisms, including increased heartbeat.

4. An injury to the upper thoracic spine. What, you say? In the upper back, there are special nerves regulating the sympathetic nervous system. When the nerves are irritated, your fight or flight reflexes can be over-active. I have seen this happen to people who carry heavy loads or sit a lot on the job. It’s common to see chronic upper back stiffness in asthma sufferers, too. Come in and find out if you might need some chiropractic adjustments for this problem.

5. Menopause. During the change of life, the adrenal glands can pick up slack balancing hormones as the ovaries slow down. While the adrenal glands start putting in a hard day’s work, it seems they sometimes over-produce adrenaline (aka epinephrine). Let’s give the adrenal glands some temporary support with something like Drenamin and Wild Yam Complex And don’t forget, chiropractic care can soothe irritation in the sympathetic nervous system that might be triggering hot flashes and insomnia as well as heart palpitations.

6. Thyroid gland struggling. The thyroid gland can be the “canary in the coal mine;” an indicator that your body has taken on too many environmental toxins. Some of these toxins bind to the thyroid gland tissue, interfering with its function. The thyroid glands may then enlarge and temporarily hyper-function (causing the heart to race) before eventually becoming exhausted and slow. Have you gained weight and can’t seem to get it off? Ask me about nourishing the thyroid with a whole foods supplement.

7. Did someone say “Red Bull?” Check this helpful Huffington Post article to compare caffeine content in various canned energy drinks full of caffeine.

8. B-Vitamin deficiencies. When we take medications, eat chemical food additives, and chug coffee or energy drinks, we may be setting ourselves up for nutritional deficiencies (not eating enough nutrient-rich foods) and depletions (when something we have ingested causes us to use more of our nutrients than normal).

Let’s think of those heart palpitations as blessings; your body has a way of telling you when things are out of balance. There is so much that can be done to help you! I am looking forward to working with you as you regain true health!

Sharon Martinez, D.C.
Rancho Cucamonga

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