Why Can I Feel My Heartbeat in My
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April 23, 2016
By A. Weinberg, Contributing Columnist

When your heart skips a beat, that sounds kind of romantic. A beating
heart in popular culture is sometimes correlated with love. However,
feeling a heartbeat in your throat evokes more of a horror movie
image. Why is it jumping up there so quickly? Why there and not in my

Palpitations is a word used to describe general or heightened
awareness of your own heartbeat. It could be too fast, too slow, or
irregular. Usually, when your pulse skips up to your throat, you are
experiencing palpitations. According to Dr. Michael Murray from Bastyr
University, some common culprits for palpitations are overexertion
(often due to exercise), stress, substance abuse, thyroid issues,
hormonal changes, low blood pressure, heart disease, and abnormal
heart valves.

The great majority of cases related to palpitations are benign, a one-
time case or related to stress or over consumption of everyday legal
drugs. However, if they come from a heart condition or arrhythmia,
they could imply something more serious, which will require more

Harvard graduate Dr. Axe cites the statistic that ¼ of American adults
over 40 get arrhythmias, and that the cost of that and other heart-
related conditions comes to around 6 billion dollars in healthcare (14-
22% of cases due to high blood pressure) in the U.S.  

Your particular throat heartbeat may not be related to one of those
expensive-healthcare related conditions. Let’s look at some of the
possible culprits, and what you might try to change your heart from
beating in your throat to being something entirely unnoticeable.

1. Cut Back and Cut Out Cigarettes, Caffeine and Other Harmful

According to a 2016 Harvard medical review, sometimes those
palpitations reach up to your throat due to various substances. Some
accelerate your heartbeat and system; some simply interfere. The first
thing to check is that you are definitely not smoking traditional
cigarettes. Nicotine may make you feel like you are calming down. And
that may not be wrong. The drug is simultaneously a stimulant and a
depressant. However, depending on your personal biology, the effects
the cigs have on you could be palpitation and anxiety producing.

Alcohol (which has also recently had its “depressant” label questioned
by Joshua Gowin, Ph.D.from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse
and Alcoholism, as well as by other researchers) could also be the
culprit. If your mysterious throat throbbing starts after weeks of heavy
drinking, cut back on that. In addition to smoking and drinking, coffee
might be contributing to the sensation.

Coffee is almost a worldwide favorite stimulant, but for some, the
beverage causes the body to speed up too much. If you discover this is
the cause of your heartbeat woes, there are always lower-caffeine
drinks or quite enjoyable teas that are non-caffeinated. If you’re saying
to yourself, “But I don’t smoke and I don’t drink or consume caffeine
much”, check your medication. Look at the side effects they have, and
ask your physician. Some may be causing your discomfort.

Reduce Stress and Anxiety

If you can rule out the possibility of substance abuse (even if your
substance is something benign like tea), there is also the possibility that
you are stressed out because of external circumstances and/or because
of your own personal biology and psychology.

In some cases, this can cause a strong somatic response, coming down
to your physical self in the message of a rapid throat heartbeat. This is
your body’s way of saying “Help yourself.”

David C. Dougale, professor of medicine at the University of
Washington, suggests some methods: Breathing exercises or deep
relaxation (a step-by-step process of tensing and then relaxing every
muscle group in the body), yoga, meditation, and tai chi. You can ask
your health professional which other methods might be good for you

Take Good Care of Your Thyroid

Sometimes a beating in your throat is an indication of an unbalanced
thyroid. According to a 2013 report by Sibel Ertrek from the Ufuk
University Medical Faculty in Ankara, Turkey, palpitations, especially in
the throat, is a quite common symptom of hyperthyroidism. If the
thyroid is what is causing that intense heat beating, it may be
accompanied by a few other symptoms, such as arrhythmias,
tachycardia, or a combination thereof. First, get diagnosed to see if it’s
the dysfunctioning of that little butterfly-shaped organ (thyroids are
beautiful) in the neck that’s causing your discomfort. You can find tips
for treating hyperthyroidism here, hypothyroidism here, and thyroid
cancer (let’s hope it doesn’t come to that), here.

Get Checked for Arrhythmias   

A lack of rhythm is kind of a bummer if you’re dancing or playing music.
However, if it’s happening with your heartbeat, it could be a major risk
to your body.

Joseph Marine, director of arrhythmia service in the cardiology division
at Johns Hopkins University, affirms that a new, strange palpitation
could be an indicator of arrhythmia. Your heart skipping a beat when
you see a crush could feel romantic, but that organ should be beating
pretty steadily most of the time. Supraventricular tachycardia is one
possibility. This happens when you experience a rapid and erratic
heartbeat, sometimes accompanied with a fast pulse and dizziness.
Atrial fibrillation is the most common case. In this circumstance, you
would also feel a rapid and erratic heartbeat.

Atrial fibrillation stops blood flow to the ventricles, sometimes leading
to clotting condition or stroke. Ventricular tachycardia stems from the
lower heart chambers, and may cause a loss of consciousness or in
extreme cases, cardiac arrest.

Dr. Michael Murray from Bastyr University recommends taking
magnesium, coenzyme Q10, hawthorn, and other fundamental vitamin
supplements as some natural remedies for issues with arrhythmia.
Consult with your physician to find out what’s best for you.

Don’t Overexert Yourself

In some cases, you might feel your heartbeat in your throat after an
intense exercise session. If that happens once in awhile, you’re
probably just fine.

However, if you consistently feel the sensation, you may want to get a
doctor’s opinion. If you are diagnosed with exercise-induced
premature ventricular beats, they have a high correlation with
myocardial disease, confirms a 2015 report by M. Jeserich at the
University of Freiburg. Of course, don’t freak out before you know
what’s going on.

Not all exercise-induced pulsations will be the same. However, if you
find that your heart beats in your throat only when exercising and in no
other moment, the best course of action is to get a professional
analysis before continuing your exercise routine.

Try Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a great way to get a body stable again. More research is
currently being done on the treatment, but things look optimistic. In a
2008 review by A.M. VanWormer and colleagues at the University of
Massachusetts, they found that 87-100% of participants with some
kind of palpitation or abnormal heart rhythm got their pulse beating
back regularly after acupuncture. Of course, do consult with your
physician to see if acupuncture is right for you, or if you a require a
more simple or complex solution.

Take Certain Herbs and Supplements --Avoid Others

While more scientific studies are needed to know which herbs are the
best, many people have compiled lists of which ones have been proven

Dr. Ray Sahelian, specialist in natural medicine and graduate from
Jefferson Medical School, Pennsylvania, recommends
fish oils, flaxseed
oil, and carnitine, amongst others.

However, he also comments that there are natural and healthy
substances you should avoid, including cuscuta, gingko biloba and
niacin. To get a more complete picture of what you need, talk to a
naturopath about options.

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Avoid certain herbs such as gingko if
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