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HEART PALPITATIONS 101 (Part 5) (Read 11862 times)
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HEART PALPITATIONS 101 (Part 5)
Dec 17th, 2006, 3:57pm
 
(Originally wrote by RLR)

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So with regard to depression and anxiety, these conditions impart disturbance upon body functions. I suppose you're already guessing that the vagus nerve is not exempt from those circumstances and you're exactly right. So when you have an episode of anxiety, rest easy when you have a palpitation or two, or three or even four. The vagus nerve is irritated and needs a break or to reset. No problem whatsoever and you needn't worry any longer that a palpitation is sure indication of worse things to come. Nothing else happens. Just an extra heartbeat or two where there should not normally be. What a relief!!!!!  
 
And the caveat I promised to the one individual with Mitral Valve Prolapse, your heart condition, while not necessarily life-threatening at all, does predispose you to panic disorder which I'm sure you are probably already aware.  
 
Okay, so now we know what these palpitations are and what causes them. What the heck do we do about 'em? Well, there are several techniques that can help. Firstly, let me say that if a run of palpitations makes you feel faint or weak, don't panic and try to make it somewhere less embarassing. Be safe and think smart. Squat to your knees or sit down until the feeling subsides. No sense in cracking open your skull by trying to make a mad dash for privacy. Anyone can feel faint and people in your company will always rally to your aid more often than not. So relax. The conditions will quickly pass and you'll be back to yourself in a jiffy.  
 
Secondly, if you sense indigestion and gas, discomfort and bloating when the palpitations are present, try merely changing positions which often causes the distention to realign from its offending position proximal to the vagus nerve. If that doesn't work, then a short walk will usually help. Even taking small sips of water will eventually help relieve the indigestion. And you can certainly use antacids if necessary, but take care not to over-use them or other problems may begin to occur to make matters worse.  
 
If you're pregnant, well indigestion or gestation. It doesn't matter. What's important to realize is that both conditions represent a temporary rearrangement and limited space downstairs. That means proximity or closeness to the nerve receptors of the VAGUS nerve and you're going to get palpations when conditions are right. It also more importantly means radical changes in hormones due to pregnancy. So just hold onto the reins and ride it out. This too, shall pass.  
 
As for the palpitations themselves, taking slow, deep breaths repeatedly will typically cause the palpitations to cease within several minutes. Recall your anatomy lesson. The vagus nerve stimulates the lungs as well as the heart, so this purposeful stimulation and forced breathing will often interrupt the irritation signal. The important thing is to remain calm and don't let your thoughts spiral out of control making you think something bad is about to happen. Not the case. Just relax. In fact, you needn't have to do any of the things described. The palpitations will always self-correct so you can even do nothing and you'll be fine. Imagine that, a benefit from doing absolutely nothing.    
 
If you're experiencing tachycardia(racing heart), then if a fountain or bathroom is nearby, apply cold water from your hands to your face and while holding your hands against your face, press gently, repeat GENTLY, on your eyes. This will invoke what is termed the "dive reflex" and will cause your heart rate to decrease in most cases. Regardless, tachycardia, like palpitations is not harmful in of itself, just a bit unnerving.  
 
The key in all cases is to do your best to remain calm and rational. Know from our little lesson what it actually taking place and that you'll be fine.  
 
SEE PART 6
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