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Heart Palpitations in Running

by
author image Melissa McNamara
Melissa McNamara is a certified personal trainer who holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communication studies from the University of Iowa. She writes for various health and fitness publications while working toward a Bachelor of Science in nursing.
Heart Palpitations in Running
Heart palpitations can be scary while running. Photo Credit John Howard/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Experiencing heart palpitations while running can be scary, especially if the feeling is new to you or continues for several minutes. Heart palpitations while running or resting are rarely dangerous, and the cause can often be diagnosed by considering your lifestyle choices.

Identification

Heart palpitations often cause a sense of uneasiness because you have a conscious awareness of changes in your pulse. Sometimes the anxiety your experience from heart palpitations can worsen the sensation. You may feel and possibly see your heart pounding through your chest. It may also feel like your heart skips a beat or is fluttering instead of beating normally. These sensations can also be felt in your throat and neck.

Causes

If you think you're experiencing heart palpitations while running, you may actually be experiencing a normal increase in your heart rate since exercise will make the heart work harder. According to the University of Iowa, you're more likely to experience heart palpitations after exercise and not during because your adrenalin rate remains high while your heart rate declines with rest.



There are several variables to consider with heart palpitations while running. If you have high levels of stress, drink caffeine, take medications that contain stimulants, use diet pills or run at high elevations, you may experience more heart palpitations while running. Heart palpitations can be dangerous if you have an underlying condition, such as a heart defect or overactive thyroid gland.

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Treatment and Prevention

It's rare for heart palpitations to require treatment since the heart is usually pumping effectively. Limiting your caffeine intake and minimizing stress can significantly reduce the frequency of palpitations. According to the National Institutes of Health, you can help your doctor diagnose heart palpitations by recording their frequency and duration, your heart rate at the time of palpitations and how you are feeling when the palpitations occur. This will help your doctor determine the seriousness and underlying cause of the condition. If there is an underlying cause other than your running, your doctor will need to treat with medications or possibly surgery. An EKG, stress test and blood test can help your doctor diagnose underlying causes.

Considerations

In rare cases, heart palpitations can increase your risk of stroke, heart failure and cardiac arrest, according to MayoClinic.com. Anytime you experience changes in your heart during running, seek medical attention from your doctor. Although there is rarely a problem with heart palpitations, your doctor can rule out or diagnose life-threatening possibilities. Seek immediate medical attention if, during your heart palpitations, you lose consciousness, become severely lightheaded or severely out of breath. These are all indicators of a more serious problem.

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References

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