Health is one of the few things that we should never take for granted. This is even considered the greatest wealth that man could ever have. However, more and more people are suffering nowadays from various health related problems. Some end up in hospitals while others even lose their lives. Taking care of health is not an easy thing for us to do. This would entail a lot of money, time, effort and sacrifices on our part. Nevertheless, investing on health can also give us wonderful advantages in the end. These days, there are already a lot of diseases and health problems that can affect the different organs of our body. One of the most vital organs is said to be the heart. Unfortunately, our heart can also suffer from various types of anomalies and health alterations such as palpitations. But what are palpitations? What does it mean when I have heart palpitations at night?
What are Heart Palpitations?
Palpitations are recognized as a type of heart irregularity. These are unpleasant sensations and/or irregular and forceful beatings or contractions of the heart. This can be a result from altered heart rhythms or arrhythmias (too slow, too rapid, too early or irregular heartbeats). Nevertheless, palpitations can still be observed in people without any heart diseases or abnormal rhythms. This condition can last from a few minutes to a few hours and can occur on and off. But what is the difference between palpitations and the simple increase in heart rate? The difference between these two conditions is that the latter usually happens following a strenuous or active exercise or activity. This is considered a normal reaction from the heart since doing rigorous body movements require increase blood circulation. This causes the heart to contract faster in order to pump more blood to the different muscles that are utilized in the activity. However, palpitations on the other hand can occur even at resting phase. This is considered irregular since the change in heart rate is not provoked by any physical activity or excursion. This can even occur at night, which can interrupt our sleep pattern.
The Causes of Palpitations
Experiencing palpitations at night can be a sign of serious heart problem. Once this condition is observed it is advisable to seek immediate attention from a doctor in order to provide appropriate and proper treatment. Palpitations can be brought about by many factors. One of these can be due to hypothyroidism. This condition is the abnormal increase or speed up in the function of the thyroid gland producing untoward reactions in the body. This gland is located or situated in the middle portion of the throat and is the one responsible for regulating metabolism. Once this gland works too fast, it can also affect the heart rate causing the heart to palpitate. A particular type of hyperactive thyroid condition that can cause palpitations is known as the Graves Disease.
Another possible cause of heart palpitations is none other than dehydration. What is dehydration? Dehydration is the term that is used to describe the lack or the insufficiency of water content in the body. Once this condition occurs, it can cause a major effect on the blood volume (water content in blood) thus affecting the beating of the heart. Once the body is dehydrated, the hemoglobin level of blood is unusually high. This is because the ratio of blood cells in blood in already not balanced to the amount of water. Normally, blood should consist of two parts red blood cells and 3 parts water. Because of dehydration, the body will sense the decrease in circulating blood in the body. This causes the heart to palpitate as an attempt to pump more blood into the system.
Symptoms of Heart Palpitations
What are the noticeable changes and symptoms produced by heart palpitations? The signs and symptoms of heart palpitations usually vary from one person to another with the presence of some common features. Some of the common observations from palpitations include uneasiness in the chest, irregularity of the pulse and strong throbbing located in the head and the neck. Some can also experience lightheadedness and loss of consciousness.
Factors that can lead to Palpitations
Certain types of food and drugs can also lead to the occurrence of heart palpitations. One of the most common substances is none other than caffeine. Drinking too much beverages or drinks that are known to have high caffeine content such as coffee, tea and soda can increase the chances of experiencing palpitations. Eating too much chocolate and drinking too much alcohol can likewise open the doors to heart palpitations. As of drugs, OTC medications such as cold and allergy remedies are also considered possible candidates for causing these abnormal heart rhythms. Usually, palpitations can occur even without any sign of precipitating factors, but experiencing fatigue or lack of sleep can also cause palpitations to happen or in other case, worsen.
So in case these things are being experienced, it is always recommended to leave the situation to our physicians. Palpitations are conditions that should never be taken for granted since this abnormality affects no other but our major organ, the heart. It is wise for us to remember that immediate care and attention is always the key in preventing the occurrence of certain complications.