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Woman holding her chestHeart palpitations are noticeable feelings or sensations of a heart beating too hard or too fast. While palpitations can signal the presence of an existing heart condition, such as Afib, stress and anxiety can also cause palpitations. Here are six ways to naturally relieve anxiety-induced heart palpitations:

  1. Try relaxation techniques. One of the best ways to relieve stress and anxiety is through simple breathing exercises, which can include meditation and yoga. To breathe correctly, slowly inhale with your hand on your belly, feeling your body push against your hand. Hold your breath to the count of 3, then exhale slowly and completely. These should be done throughout the day, not just when you feel anxiety.
  2. Sleep. You have most likely already heard about the importance of a good night's sleep. Quality sleep allows your heart to rest, bringing blood pressure and heart rate down as you sleep. Lack of sleep can make you anxious and jittery — a harmful combination when it comes to your heart. To add to that, studies show that people who sleep less at night are at higher risk for heart disease.
  3. Exercise. Elevating your heart rate with cardiovascular exercise will ultimately reduce your anxiety levels as well as make your heart muscle stronger. Regular exercise allows for more blood to flow through your body and lowers your probability for having palpitations.
  4. Balance your diet. Proper nutrition can make a significant difference to your cardiovascular health. You should eat foods high in electrolytes (calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium) to help stimulate heart function. You should also add leafy greens, remove processed, high sodium foods, and eat small meals throughout the day.
  5. Avoid stimulants, such as caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco products. These products are known to induce palpitations. Over-the-counter medications can also cause a rapid heartbeat, including appetite suppressants and some cough and cold medications. Additionally, talk to your doctor if you think your prescription medications may be the culprit.
  6. Drink plenty of water. You may not know this, but dehydration can cause heart palpitations. The less water your body consumes, it can have lots of ill effects, including increasing palpitations. You should aim to drink 8-10 glasses of water a day, or half your body weight in ounces (example: if you weigh 120 pounds, you should be drinking 60 ounces of water a day).

If you are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, immediately call 9-1-1. If the above techniques don't improve your situation, or if your heart palpitations become more frequent or worrisome, schedule an appointment with your physician or a cardiologist. They will work with you to run the appropriate tests for diagnosis and create the right treatment plan for you.

Any information and advice is given on a generalized, generic basis, and is not specific to any individual patient's condition. Use of this material is helpful in making you informed about health care issues and cannot replace a health professional-patient relationship. You should always consult with a professional for diagnosis and treatment of any specific health problems. You should not disregard any advice or treatment plan from your health professional based on your interpretation of what you may read in this material.

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