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A racing heart is not necessarily troublesome

Heart --The Hot Mess Press

You likely know that your heart beats between 60 and 100 times per minute. Nevertheless, have you ever thought of it in terms of 86,400 to 144,000 per day? Each one of those beats pumps nutrients and oxygen-rich blood through your body to keep you alive. That underscores how incredibly hard our hearts must work — without having time to rest!

When we experience rapid heartbeats, the feeling of a pounding, fluttering or racing heart is alarming. What could be wrong? Am I heading for a heart attack? We often think the worst, but a racing heart is not necessarily troublesome. It is usually a natural response to other things going on in the body.

Anxious man heart pounding
Anxiety could cause rapid heart rate
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Anxiety could cause heart palpitations

If you are anxious, you could also experience tension and nervousness. You might have an uneasy feeling in your stomach and sweat more than usual. Anxiety could cause a rise in blood pressure, increased stress hormones and a racing heart.

Woman stressed racing heart
Stress could cause palpitations
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Stress drives up heart rate

Any time you feel stressed, it could trigger hormone releases like cortisol or adrenaline. Those hormones cause higher blood pressure, a pounding heart rate and elevated pulse. They are normal stress-related responses, and addressing the stress can resolve these bodily reactions. Deep breathing, relaxation exercises, tai chi and yoga could relieve the stress.

Woman in blue
Thyroid problems could slow or speed up heartbeat
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Your racing heartbeat could be from thyroid problems

The thyroid gland’s job is to pump various hormones to the major organs. If it is underactive and pumping insufficient hormones, the heart rate could slow down. However, if the thyroid produces an excess amount of hormones, the heartbeats could increase. Although this is not life-threatening, a doctor can prescribe medication to address the rapid heartbeat.

Pregnant mother and child
Pregnancy makes the heart work harder
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Is pregnancy causing your racing heartbeat?

When a woman is pregnant, her heart works even harder to meet the fetus’ needs and her own. Sharing the blood with the fetus makes the heart pumping 30 to 55% more blood. During pregnancy, her heartbeat will be between 80 and 90 beats a minute. This is perfectly normal, but if there are concerns, discuss it with the ob-gyn.

Man in Pain racing heart
Acute pain causes stress
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Acute pain triggers stress

As explained, stress could cause higher levels of stress hormones. Similarly, increased blood pressure and a faster heartbeat will result. Pain could be from a burn, fracture, sprain or an open wound. Furthermore, conditions like pancreatitis or appendicitis could cause severe pain.

Fever thermometer capsules
Your heart works hard to fight infections
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Fever caused by a cold

A high temperature, coughing, sneezing and other cold or flu symptoms could cause a racing heartbeat. It is because the body’s fight against the infection requires the heart to work extra hard.

Heart Palpitations
A racing heartbeat could be scary
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And then there are the too little and too many aspects of pounding heart rates.

Man, woman water
Avoid dehydration
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Too little water and fluids

Starving your body from fluids causes dehydration. It makes your heart work extra hard to compensate for the lack of fluids. The heart palpitations often happen during workout, jogging or other physical exertion. Stop, rest, cool down and drink water to allow your heartbeat to return to normal

Woman, sleepless
Lack of sleep
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Too little sleep

Poor sleep is one of the most common causes of rapid heartbeats. The lack of sleep causes increased release of stress hormones, which by now, we know cause that pounding heartbeat.

Stimulant racing heart
Limit stimulants
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Too many stimulants

Our lives are so busy that we often consume stimulants to keep going. Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, soda, energy drinks and even some medications like those for ADHD cause increased heart rates. How much is too much? Keep your coffee intake below four cups, fewer than ten cans of soda, and energy drinks no more than two per day.

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