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Can emotions cause heart palpitations?

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Quick Answer

Strong emotional responses to stress and anxiety can cause heart palpitations, notes Mayo Clinic. Hormone changes during menstruation, pregnancy and menopause, strenuous exercise, nicotine and caffeine are also causes of heart palpitations.

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Full Answer

A person experiencing heart palpitations may feel as if his heart is skipping beats, fluttering, beating too quickly or pumping harder than usual, states Mayo Clinic. Heart palpitations can occur when people are active or resting and regardless of body position. People suffering from stress and anxiety may suffer from heart palpitations during a panic attack, notes PubMed Health. Fear of disaster or loss of control are some of the characterizations of a panic attack, and people suffering from these attacks may feel as if they are having a heart attack. Doctors may diagnose people who have repeated panic attacks with panic disorder, a condition in which the attacks are frequent enough to disrupt daily routines.

People can try to prevent heart palpitations due to stress and anxiety by practicing meditation, exercising and engaging in other relaxing activities such as yoga or tai chi, notes Harvard Health Publications. A person suffering from heart palpitations due to strong emotions can try the Valsalva maneuver by pinching his nose closed, closing his mouth and trying to breathe forcefully through his nose. Splashing cold water on the face, vigorous exercise and deep breathing techniques may also alleviate heart palpitations due to stress and anxiety.

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