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A racing heart out of nowhere: be sure to have seizures checked out by a doctor
Although there is usually something harmless behind a racing heart, in some cases life-threatening heart diseases are also responsible for the pump organ resting. Experts explain when those affected should definitely go to a doctor.
When the heart starts racing out of nowhere
When the heart "beats up to the neck", excitement, fear, physical exertion or anticipation are usually the triggers. However, when the pump organ begins to race out of nowhere, it feels very uncomfortable, sometimes threatening for those affected: dizziness, shortness of breath or feelings of fear are often added. "Such attacks of rapid heartbeat should be clarified by the doctor, because it can be dangerous heart diseases," warns the cardiologist Prof. Dr. med. Paulus Kirchhof from the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Heart Foundation in a communication.
Not automatically dangerous
"Even if a sudden racing heart - not to be confused with stumbling - often feels very threatening, the attacks do not automatically have to be dangerous," says Kirchhof, who is also a professor of cardiovascular diseases at the University of Birmingham (Great Britain).
As explained in the Heart Foundation's announcement, suddenly occurring bouts of rapid heartbeat with heart rates above 140 beats per minute can be caused by various heart diseases.
In many cases, the accelerated heartbeat is triggered by atrial fibrillation. This most common form of cardiac arrhythmia is not acutely dangerous because the ventricles do the most pumping.
However, blood clots can form in the atria, which can then trigger a stroke.
According to estimates, over 1.8 million people suffer from atrial fibrillation alone in Germany.
Always have cardiac arrhythmias checked by a doctor
However, not every rapid heartbeat is caused by a serious illness.
If the seizures start suddenly, without any reason, and can be ended by maneuvers such as drinking a glass of water, chances are that the heartbeat is benign.
This form of cardiac arrhythmia can be very stressful for those affected, but is curable in most cases.
Many people with irregular heartbeat react with great uncertainty as to whether they are harmless or dangerous and how they can be treated.
"After a thorough examination of the patient, only a cardiologist can decide whether cardiac arrhythmias are harmless, less harmless or life-threatening," says cardiologist Kirchhof.
"Patients who experience attacks of rapid heartbeat out of nowhere should have this checked up by a doctor." (Ad)