Vim & Vigor - Fall 2021 - 22

22
Many aspects of life
can cause heart palpitations-
food, exercise, drugs, stressors
and hormones, to name a few.
Let's look at them more closely.
CAUSE:
Diet, Exercise,
Medications
What we eat and how much we
move are crucial to caring for ourselves,
especially our hearts. Lots of
substances we consume can aff ect
heart rate. Th is can be harmless,
or it can exacerbate an underlying
condition, such as an abnormal
heartbeat, or arrhythmia.
" Stress, caff eine, alcohol and
nicotine are common things that
can trigger arrhythmias, and those
can be benign [not harmful], or
they can trigger atrial fi brillation
or ventricular fi brillation, " Osborne
says. Fibrillations are the irregular
contracting of the atria and
ventricles-the two types of heart
chambers-and are potentially
life-threatening.
Researchers and doctors have
known for decades that alcohol
abuse can induce heart arrhythmias.
Other drugs also can aff ect the way
the heart beats.
" Both licit [legal] and illicit
drugs-methamphetamines and
cocaine in particular-can elevate
heart rate and trigger heart issues, "
Osborne says. " And if you have a
personal history of heart disease or
a family history of heart disease, it's
important that you're honest with
your doctor about the medications
you take and the drugs you use. "
CAUSE:
Stress, Anxiety
Stress and anxiety have deep
connections with our hearts, says
David Rosmarin, PhD, a member
expert of the Anxiety and
Depression Association of America.
" Th e entire vascular system
is meant to keep us alive, so it is
responsive to our perceptions and
our stress levels, " he says. " If you've
ever had the fi ght-or-fl ight feeling,
your heart rate goes up, right?
Why? It's not because something is
wrong with your heart. Your vascular
system is probably fi ne. "
Rather, Rosmarin says, your
heart beats rapidly in response to
stress, sending adrenaline into your
bloodstream and fl ooding your
body with oxygen, preparing it to
defend against a threat, like our
prehistoric ancestors needed to
avoid predators.
Th e predators might be long gone,
but some threats remain, such as
feeling overwhelmed at work, going
through a bad breakup or dealing
with fi nancial woes.
Having your body in a constant
state of stress response is not
healthy, Rosmarin says. Studies
have shown that anxiety disorders
and chronic stress aff ect heart rate
and blood pressure and can be detrimental
to cardiovascular health,
especially among people who
already have heart disease.
" If you're concerned about it, "
Rosmarin says, " the best thing to
do is talk with your doctor. "
FALL 2021 VIM & VIGOR
CAUSE:
Hormones
Hormones are necessary for our
bodies to function properly, but
when hormone levels change, it
can aff ect the way our hearts beat
and function.
Consider the pancreas, which
creates insulin, the hormone that
regulates blood glucose (sugar).
When the pancreas isn't able to
produce enough insulin, it can
lead to type 2 diabetes. Studies are
increasingly fi nding that diabetes
aff ects the electrical impulses that
regulate heartbeats, leaving people
with diabetes at greater risk for
arrhythmias and atrial fi brillation.
According to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention,
people with diabetes are twice as
likely to have heart disease or a
stroke as someone who doesn't have
the disease.
So, if you have diabetes, talk to
your doctor about the best ways to
manage your heart risks.
Sometimes, hormonal changes
are part of the normal human condition,
especially for women.
A 2016 study found that women
experienced a signifi cant increase
in pulse and respiratory rates
during their premenstrual phases.
Also, arrhythmias are common
for women who are pregnant, and
although these irregular beats are
usually harmless, they should be
monitored. If you are pregnant and
notice changes in your heart rate,
tell your doctor immediately.

Vim & Vigor - Fall 2021

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Vim & Vigor - Fall 2021 - Cover1
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2021 - Cover2
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2021 - Contents
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2021 - 2
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