Racing heart caused by stress


Palpitations can be triggered by stress and is a warning sign that stress should be reduced. The racing heart comes about as part of the normal stress reaction and is in itself harmless as long as it does not last long.
It can be checked by a physical exam with a doctor, an EKG, and a blood test. It must be ruled out that the palpitations occur as part of cardiac arrhythmias and not only during stress. If the heart is racing through stress, the best therapy is to avoid overly stressful situations.


The heart usually beats at about 60 to 80 beats per minute, so on average about once per second. If the heart beats faster, i.e. over 80 or even 100 beats, it can be very uncomfortable for the person concerned. This process is called palpitations or in medical terminology Tachycardia. Palpitations can go through different circumstances arise - as natural response on something or through various diseases. One natural circumstance that can make your heart beat very quickly is stress. This is part of the body's response to the complex stress response. Although the reaction can occur in anyone, a racing heart can become a burden for some - especially if you are constantly under stress and the heart is constantly beating at an increased rate.


The stress reaction is a reaction of the body to a stressful situation, which is supposed to increase the body's energy for a short time and enable people to perform better. The sympathetic nervous system is activated, a part of the so-called vegetative nervous system, which cannot be consciously controlled and which controls deeply anchored, intrinsic functions. In the Stone Age, this was supposed to enable people to fight or flee - today it enables us to quickly cope with tasks at work or to achieve top performance in sports. The stress reaction releases various messenger substances and hormones such as adrenaline, noradrenaline or cortisol, which are responsible, among other things, for the various effects of stress on the body. Stress, for example, upregulates the metabolism, the muscles become more efficient, breathing speeds up and the pupils become larger.

The stress reaction also affects the cardiovascular system: blood vessels close to the heart constrict and the heart begins to beat faster. With the heart racing, the body tries to improve the supply of oxygen and nutrients. A racing heart is actually a normal reaction of the body to stress. If a person is constantly under stress, this may not be a problem on the one hand, but it can also become a serious burden on the other, for example if you feel the heartbeat increased. This is called palpitations. Some people can deal with stress better than others, which is why palpitations do not appear as a problematic symptomatology in every person who is often under stress. The severity of the symptoms, however, varies from person to person.

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Is that dangerous?

Whether a racing heart is dangerous under stress depends on them situation on. There are normal stressful situations in which the acceleration of the heartbeat is quite normal and helps the body to face the required performance. But these are mainly physical demands. A fast heartbeat or even racing heart does not help anyone to work better at a desk, for example, and is therefore also an indication of one potential excessive demands. Almost everyone experiences stressful phases in their job in which they feel uncomfortable. However, this should not become normal. To be challenged now and then can help to improve your own abilities, but constant excessive demands are counterproductive. When the stress-related heart palpitations occurs again and again or the heartbeat generally accelerates in any situation, must be acted and intervened. In this respect, the extent of the frequency increase and the frequency are important measures for the danger of a racing heart caused by stress. In the case of extreme frequency fluctuations and a high number of occurrences, there is not only a danger to mental, but also to physical well-being. However, if you are responsible with your own limits bypasses and also respects them, is also one or the other stressful situation not dangerous.

Possible other symptoms

Can through a racing heart various other symptoms to be triggered. Since the body is activated under stress, not only the heartbeat accelerates, but also breathing. These two vital functions are closely related and regulate each other. An accelerated heartbeat, regardless of what caused it, naturally causes the Breathing intensified.

Another symptom is so-called palpitations. The word only describes that the patient perceives the abnormal heart movement. If the heartbeat is otherwise practically not felt, a racing heart can result in the movement being perceived as particularly intense or irregular. In the context of such sensations, it is not uncommon for anxiety or even panic attacks to occur, as the thought immediately arises that there may be a heart disease. Even if this is unlikely because the sensations occurred under a stressful situation, a medical evaluation can reassure the person concerned. The other accompanying symptoms of a racing heart can vary from patient to patient, but often include general symptoms such as sweating, nausea, dizziness, increased urination and in rare cases impaired consciousness up to fainting attacks. If the consciousness is affected, a medical examination should be carried out in order to rule out other causes.


Anxiety is one of the accompanying symptoms that can occur with a racing heart in stressful situations. Fear is a feelingwhich is accompanied by various physical reactions. So it is primarily not a physical, but rather a psychological symptom. If a person has a rapid heartbeat under stress, it can be very frightening for the person concerned. It is an unfamiliar feeling and fear of heart disease is widespread among the population. When it is noticed that something is wrong with the heart, it leads to negative feelings, if not negative, in most people panic. The resulting anxiety can lead to additional symptoms that would not have arisen without it. The symptoms partially overlap with the accompanying symptoms, which can also be triggered by a racing heart, which is why differentiation can be very complicated. Anxiety can cause shortness of breath and shortness of breath, tremors, nausea, dizziness and all sorts of other bodily responses.

An important tip when dealing with a racing heart in stressful situations is to stay calm. This attacks the problem directly on the foundation and actually means only one thing: the stress needs to be reduced.

Shortness of breath

Shortness of breath can occur as an additional symptom when the heart is racing. The problem goes thereby not from the lungs, but from the breath control. In response to an accelerated heartbeat, which is usually associated with increased physical activity, the human body also breathes more intensely. she will deeper and fasterto ensure the oxygen supply continues despite an increased heartbeat. Here, too, anxiety can play a role in the stress-related racing heart and also accelerate breathing. The person concerned increasingly comes into the state of Hyperventilation. With hyperventilation, breathing is very deep and, above all, very fast. A lot of carbon dioxide is exhaled, which disturbs the acid-base balance in the blood. It can too Parasitic sensations and tremors, muscle spasms or shortness of breath, but also lead to various other symptoms. These tend to all decrease once breathing normalizes.

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Some people start to shiver under stress. On the one hand, this can be done with the excitement related, i.e. of psychological origin, or a physical symptom. If the stress-related palpitations occur, the progressively worsens Blood supply at the end of the vascular system, i.e. in the more distant capillaries, especially the hands and feet. The decreased supply is not so bad as to damage the tissue. Indeed tire the muscles faster and the performance decreases. The hands and fingers begin to tremble, feel like butter and can no longer be used properly. This can also be the case with the feet and legs, which is why you should sit down quickly if you notice a corresponding state. The tremor is usually an acute symptom should disappear after a relaxation phase.

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Nausea can be a symptom of a racing heart under stress. It is not uncommon psyche An important component here, because fear also leads to malaise in many cases. It can be helpful to start with a little bit of nausea from having a racing heart to come to rest and take a deep breath. A Glass of cold water Drinking while sitting can not only help against nausea, but also against the stress-related palpitations. If the racing heart is so strong that the blood supply decreases, nausea can also occur. This is usually associated with other signs, such as dizziness or tremors. It helps to make its work easier for the heart by sits down or at best lies down. In the horizontal position, the heart no longer has to do as much work to pump blood throughout the body. Plus, lying down has one relaxing aspectwhich has a positive effect on the psyche and can subside the stress reaction.

sleep disorders

Under constant exposure to stress sleep disorders can arise. These are of different origins and can be from the psyche and on the other hand from body originate. Stress causes psychological restlessness, which does not stop after a while, even if the stressful situation is left. The psyche also influences our sleep behavior and can significantly impair it. Consists constant stress and if this has led to a permanent, i.e. chronic, palpitations, this too can disturbed sleep phases to lead. Once again, the aspect of undersupply plays the leading role. During sleep, the heart palpitations and the brain is slightly insufficiently supplied with blood. This condition can lead to a Wake-up response lead to stimulate the body and increase the performance of the heart.

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Duration of the heart racing

When the heart is racing through stress, the perceived racing heart lasts usually only a few minutes on. But also the Type of occurrence plays a crucial role. Kick your heart racing seizure-like in stressful situations on, it can lead to phases of less than a minute, but also to seizures lasting several minutes. These forms of the heart race are not so critical. In extreme cases, it can last for hours, but this should usually be prevented by a visit to the doctor in the meantime. Kick your heart racing chronic, i.e. permanent, on, there are also two forms: recurrent and permanent. With chronically recurrent palpitations, it happens repeatedly to a seizure-like increase in heart rate. In chronic permanent tachycardia, the heart beats always accelerated. Especially the chronic forms that are associated with long duration are dangerous for the person concerned and should be treated and fought in their origin, as they are an expression of Cardiac arrhythmias could be.

Special situations

Stress-related palpitations usually occur only in stressful situations on. But there are also special situations in which the palpitations can occur, e.g. during pregnancy or at night.

During work

When asked what situation they are feeling stressed in, many people would likely die job specify. At work, everyone is required to perform, which usually have to be achieved within a certain period of time. More or less stressful situations arise, which affect the people concerned have different effects. While some people deal with stress at work calmly and leave the problems there after work, others take the problems from work home with them and are therefore particularly prone to stress-related health problems. One symptom that can result from stress is a racing heart.If you suddenly get a racing heart at work, in situations that are potentially not physically demanding, you should seriously think about it existing workload do. An intervention in the current excessive demand is absolutely necessary because the heart palpitations has a negative impact on body and mind and endangers health and well-being is. Can help Relaxation and stress management techniques or maybe an outpatient psychotherapy, which answers the fundamental question of why you react so extremely to stress in the first place. The employer should also care about the health of his employees - you should always speak up if you feel too overwhelmed and, in an emergency, don't shy away from sick leave.

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During pregnancy

During pregnancy, a woman's body changes. The conditions for the growing child should be ideal, including one optimal blood supply applies. To do this, the body produces more blood, which the baby should supply more efficiently. As part of this change, there may also be a Acceleration of the heartbeat come. Phases with a racing heart can also occur, but are usually harmless. Above all, the expectant mother should pay attention to whether the heart regularly beats. If not, a medical check-up should take place. So it comes from the general increase in frequency faster heart rate in stressful situationswhich is primarily harmless to the child. Most of the time the palpitations slow down Reassurance. The increased heart rate at rest can also return to normal once the body has got used to the pregnancy and the changes that go with it. Only at extreme stressful situations During pregnancy there may be an increased tendency to Premature births come.

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Nocturnal racing heart

Nocturnal racing heart can result from Overwork and stress in everyday life be. The psyche is burdened by constant stressful situations. Some people can handle it better, others less well. Above all, people who take problems home with them from work, for example, cannot finish the relevant topic in their free time either. The stress-related burden thus also extends to periodsthat should actually be relaxed. During the night, the body's reserves should be replenished and the information from the day processed. If there is an unsolved problem in the room, it can also have effects on the sleeping body. Then, for example, a palpitations occur which either goes unnoticed or causes the person concerned to wake up. In this way also arise sleep disorders through stress-related heart palpitations. If you are torn from sleep and feel a more or less accelerated heartbeat, this can also lead to fear and panic. In these situations it is especially important to stay calm and try to calm yourself down. Relaxation and breathing techniques can help with this. Basically, such nocturnal interruptions represent a strong overload in everyday life and should definitely be to be taken seriously!

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An EKG and blood test should be done to rule out more serious illnesses.

Diagnosing a racing heart is relatively easy. Only the Heartbeats counted which the organ does in one minute. This can be done either with two fingers on the wrist or with the hand or a stethoscope on the chest. The main artery can also be felt in the neck, but this is sometimes more difficult than other approaches. Alternatively, a Electrocardiogram (EKG) created become. This measures the electrical currents that flow when the heart muscles are stimulated with each beat. The examination becomes problematic if the heart rate is racing only in stressful situations occurs. It is difficult for the doctor to determine the heart rate at the right moments. However, this can be done on a Long-term ECG can be used. An EKG is recorded for 24 hours, but during the normal daily routine. The doctor can then not only determine the exact heart rhythm, but also pay attention to peculiarities during the day. In addition, the patient should note particularly stressful situations with the appropriate time, after which a specific examination can take place.

With the help of an EKG you can also many heart diseases are excludedleading to a racing heart. Furthermore, a Blood test also a disease of the thyroid excluded, which can also lead to palpitations. However, both an overactive thyroid and most heart diseases cause a racing heart that is not linked to stressful situations, but occurs continuously or irregularly.

The most important thing is a stress-related heart palpitations Cardiac arrhythmias to distinguish. The latter must be treated correctly so that no consequential damage occurs.

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To treat the palpitations under stress should first address the problem in its root cause to be addressed. Learning from Stress management strategies and the immediate reduction in the frequency of stressful situations is a top priority. Under certain circumstances, a Sick leave be necessary when the stress is at work, for example. People who are particularly prone to stress-related symptoms may also consider one outpatient psychotherapy to start. The reason why one is easily stressed is often deeper than the mere workload.

Immediate therapy options are available especially for those affected with a stable circulation. For example, this can be Valsalva press maneuver be performed. The patient takes a deep breath and then covers his mouth and nose. Then pressure is built up over the stomach and chest, as if trying to exhale. The closed airways make the pressure so high that it affects the heart and vascular system as well as the classic crackling in the ear. The Valsalva press maneuver usually results in the Heart rate decreased rapidly. In addition, or as a first measure, you can do this Put your face in cold water. This process also has a calming effect on the speed of the heartbeat.

Medication should not actually be used in the case of stress-related palpitations, as the palpitations are usually limited to the stressful situation and only lasts for a short time. In the case of a chronic palpitations of the heart, it may be necessary to interrupt the palpitations with medication. Above all, so-called Beta blockers used, which reduce the conduction rate of excitations in the heart and thus slow down the heart rate.
If cardiac arrhythmias occur, a so-called cardioversion may also be necessary. The heart is put back into its normal rhythm with medication or with the help of electricity.

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