Palpitations at rest
Cardiac stumbling is the colloquial term for extra beats of the heart, so-called extrasystoles. They fall into the normal heart rhythm and are therefore arrhythmic. Many people experience palpitations on occasion. Many of them do not even notice the occasional extra beats, others notice them as a somewhat uncomfortable getting out of step or stumbling of the heart. Heart stumbling often occurs at rest.
Heart stumbling is caused by misdirected impulses that arise outside the heart's regular pacemaker center, the sinus node. One speaks of ectopic excitation centers. There are several causes of heart palpitations. They occur most often in young, heart-healthy people who have no significant previous illnesses.
Possible triggers can be stimulating substances such as caffeine, alcohol or nicotine, but also drugs. Other possible triggers are mental or physical stress, fatigue and exercise. In some people, extrasystoles occur more frequently after an opulent meal or extremely flatulent meal. But pre-existing heart diseases can also lead to heart stumbling. For example, calcifications of the coronary arteries (coronary heart disease, CHD for short), but also diseases of the heart muscle such as cardiomyopathies or inflammatory diseases of the heart such as myocarditis. Even after a heart attack, cardiac stumbling can occur more frequently, as the conduction of stimuli in the heart can be disturbed by the infarct scar.
Diseases that do not affect the heart can also trigger heart stumbling. One example is the overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). Heart stumbling can also occur with disorders of the body's electrolyte balance, such as those that can occur in the context of severe diarrhea or vomiting.
Find out all about the topic here: The causes of palpitations.
Thyroid disease in heart palpitations
An overactive thyroid can lead to heart stumbling. The causes of an overactive thyroid can be, for example, autoimmune processes (Graves' disease) or decoupled autonomous areas in the thyroid area (thyroid autonomy), usually referred to as nodes.
In both cases there is an increased production of thyroid hormones. These have an activating effect on the cardiovascular system, heart palpitations and heart stumbling but also other cardiac arrhythmias can occur. The palpitations often occur out of complete calm.
Find out more here:
- Heart stumbling through the thyroid gland
- The symptoms of an overactive thyroid?
Other accompanying symptoms
Heart stumbling often occurs in isolation and only for a few seconds. However, accompanying symptoms can also occur, especially if the palpitations persist for a long time. Possible concomitant symptoms of heart stumbling can be restlessness and anxiety as well as increased sweating. These accompanying symptoms usually arise as a reaction to the palpitations in the sense of a psychological fear reaction.
Much less often, dizziness, shortness of breath or chest pain can accompany cardiac stumbling. These are warning symptoms that should prompt a doctor to be consulted.
For detailed information on this topic, see: Symptoms of palpitations
Palpitations are a symptom that is perceived subjectively. In order to objectify it, it is necessary to record an EKG. Usually the short lead phase, around 10 seconds, is not sufficient for a normal EKG to record heart stumbling. It is therefore advisable to perform a 24-hour ECG recording. The probability that episodes of heart stumbling can be detected in the ECG within 24 hours of frequent cardiac stumbling is significantly greater.
In most cases, however, no diagnosis is necessary, since heart stumbling is often harmless. However, in some cases it can also be an indication of previous damage to the heart. For this reason, further examinations such as cardiac ultrasound, stress ECG or cardiac catheter examination may be considered for certain affected persons. Taking a blood sample to rule out thyroid dysfunction can also be useful in some cases.
Find out more about the topic here: The exercise ECG.
How do I know if it's dangerous?
In the vast majority of cases, palpitations are a completely harmless symptom that many people experience occasionally. However, if the palpitations occur very frequently or if accompanied by symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath or strong pressure on the chest, a doctor should be consulted who can decide whether further examinations are necessary. On the basis of the examinations it can then be decided whether the palpitations should be classified as potentially dangerous. It should be noted, however, that palpitations are not dangerous in themselves. The stumbling of the heart can, however, be an indication of the presence of a potentially dangerous disease that requires treatment in rather rare cases.
How dangerous is a palpitations really? Get information here.
In the rarest of cases, heart palpitations have to be treated in peace, as they usually have no disease value. In people who experience cardiac stumbling as part of another underlying disease, this should be adequately treated. For example, drug therapy should be initiated in the presence of coronary artery disease or an overactive thyroid.
In people who frequently suffer from palpitations, attempts should be made to identify possible triggers. The frequency of palpitations can often be reduced by avoiding certain triggers. If the palpitations persist and have a negative effect on everyday life, therapy with various drugs can be considered. First, an attempt can be made with an over-the-counter combination preparation made from potassium and magnesium. There are numerous corresponding preparations to buy in pharmacies or drugstores. One example is Tromcardin® as one of the numerous available preparations. The electrolytes contained in it can stabilize the heart's irritation threshold and thus reduce the occurrence of cardiac stumbling.
If this does not lead to any improvement, the use of beta blockers is another option. These drugs dampen the heart's action and can reduce the occurrence of heart stumbling. Due to the numerous possible side effects, beta blockers should only be taken after consulting the attending physician and after carefully weighing the risks and benefits.
Learn more about the therapy of heart stumbling.
Homeopathy for palpitations
There are numerous globules in homeopathy that can be used to treat a wide variety of symptoms. This is also the case for the treatment of heart palpitations.
As an example, only a few remedies are mentioned here that are thought to have a possible effect on heart palpitations: Adonis vernalis, Cactus, Ammonium carbonicum and Lycopus virginicus. There are no scientific studies that reliably prove the effectiveness of any of the preparations mentioned for the treatment of heart palpitations.
Are you interested in this topic? Read our next article below: Homeopathy for heart palpitations
The prognosis for heart palpitations is excellent in most cases. Palpitations only rarely have a negative impact on health or life expectancy.
If it occurs as an accompanying symptom in the context of heart disease, the prognosis depends largely on the underlying disease and the therapy.
The course of the disease
Heart stumbling can occur once but also repeatedly (recurrent). In some people, it occurs repeatedly over a period of life or time, but then disappears completely. Other people experience heart stumbling over the course of their lives, but with longer symptom-free intervals.
When do I have to see a doctor?
If heart stumbling occurs very frequently - for example several times a day - a doctor should be consulted during the course of the process. Also, if the palpitations persist over a longer period of time, i.e. more than 5-10 minutes, a doctor should be consulted.
If accompanying symptoms such as severe dizziness, shortness of breath or a feeling of pressure in the chest occur, a doctor should be consulted immediately.