There are a number of reasons for heart palpitations. Some of them quite innocent and even fun, like the palpitations you feel after dancing or from the excitement of a creepy movie. The other type, ones that come insidiously, create quite a bit of distress and could be from something quite innocuous or a cause that needs medical attention. If you have stomach gas at the same time you have palpitations, that narrows the potential causes.
Heart palpitations are arrhythmias. There are three basic types of arrhythmias. Tachycardia, or rapid heart beat; bradycardia, or very slow beat; and ectopic beats, which includes extra or irregular beats..
Acid reflux and GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease, are similar, except GERD is the more severe form of the condition. It occurs when the acidic contents of the stomach back up into the esophagus. GERD has a variety of symptoms which may include gas, bloating, small amounts of acidic regurgitation into the mouth, vomiting, heartburn, chronic cough, sore throat and frequent sinus infections. If GERD is long-standing, there's a potential for increased asthma attacks. Patients occasionally report heart palpitations at the same time.
There is no scientific study or accepted medical wisdom to indicate that the heart palpitations felt by certain patients comes from GERD or the gas caused by the disease. However, there is a potential for the two to occur at the same time. The vagus nerve, which plays a role in regulating the heart rhythm, sends information to the brain about the esophagus as well as controls swallowing. There is a potential for to mix the information sent to the brain when the gastric acid stimulates the vagus nerve.
A hiatal hernia is the movement of the gastroesophageal junction, which is the place where the stomach and esophagus connect, and part of the stomach into the chest area. Normally this causes many of the same symptoms as does GERD. In fact, it may be the cause of GERD. These types of hernias occur when the tissue that anchors the junction to the diaphragm becomes weak and moves when pressure from some form of exertion occurs.
Once more, even though there is no scientific proof, more and more doctors now listen to patients' anecdotal stories of how gas tablets and burping helped regulate the heart rhythm. Another potential hypothesis is that the esophagus traps gas when the hernia slides into the chest cavity. The trapped gas presses on the vagus nerve and causes heart palpitations.
- Photo Credit "Dia 90: Felicidad artificial" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Freddy The Boy (Angel Arcones) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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