A cardiologist says there are five ways you can stop heart palpitations without drugs.
If you continue having heart palpitations despite having given these five treatment methods a chance, then you should work with your cardiologist to see if perhaps a drug might be your best option.
Sometimes when a patient learns that their heart palpitations are benign and nothing to worry about, they become a lot more tolerable.
Often, drugs are not prescribed, and instead, the patient is told to pay attention to the following home treatment options to see if they resolve the issue.
These five non-drug treatments are recommended by Yaser Elnahar, MD, a cardiologist with Hunterdon Cardiovascular Associates in NJ.
#1 Reduce caffeine and other stimulant intake.
Coffee, tea, soda and chocolate contain caffeine. Take note of when you usually get heart palpitations to see if there’s an association with caffeine intake.
Note that some “energy” drinks contain stimulants that can increase heart rate and lead to palpitations. It’s best to avoid these altogether. If you want energy, eat some fruit for its natural sugars.
#2 Increase water intake.
See what happens when you raise it to six, eight-ounce glasses per day. This means pure water. Juice, sugar-free sodas and other thin beverages do not count.
To make drinking more water easier, have a glass with your meals instead of what you usually have, especially if what you usually have is sugar-laden juice or soda.
You also don’t need to be thirsty in order to have a glass of water. Add lemon slices to it to make reaching your quota easier.
#3 Do you exercise?
If not, it’s time to start. If you’re already doing what you think is exercise, perhaps it’s just not enough.
For instance, don’t assume that any housework that you do is an automatic, built-in exercise regimen. And do not assume that “all the walking” you do on the job is adequate exercise.
Instead, take a brisk half-hour walk every day (what you do when shopping does not count).
Pump your arms and move swiftly to get your heart rate up. If you use a treadmill, do not hold on.
As a former personal trainer, let me tell you that it’s not necessary to fixate on your heart rate while walking (unless your doctor has instructed you not to go over a certain rate).
If you must hold on for heart rate, then let go after the heart rate appears on the monitor.
Also take up strength training, which beginners can do at home with a heavy ball, tension tubes, a kettlebell and a few pairs of dumbbells.
Make sure you do some form of exercise every day (yoga counts) and see if the heart palpitations go away.
If exercise triggers heart palpitations, then tell your doctor about this.
#4 Stress Reduction
Exercise should help with this, but you may also want to try meditation, yoga or listening to more of your favorite music.
Pick your battles carefully to help keep stress levels low. For example, stop getting worked up over little things like the purple streak in your teen’s hair.
#5 Avoid late night meals.
Hungry and it’s late at night? Have some fruit or nuts. Don’t dig into the leftover chicken Alfredo or pizza.
These five non-drug treatments for palpitations may not eliminate them 100 percent, simply because in many cases, faulty electrical signals in the heart are normal.
But before you assume this on your own, get confirmation from your cardiologist — especially if you’re experiencing many heart palpitations nearly every day.
Also keep in mind that even in the strongest, healthiest heart, some palpitations may occur due to sudden severe anxiety. There’s a reason why “I was so scared, my heart skipped a beat,” is a common saying.
Dr. Elnahar has publications in the Journal of Atrial Fibrillation, the Journal of Clinical Medicine and Research, Reports in Medical Imaging, and more.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.