It's one thing for your heart to pound hard & fast after you've sprinted, been scared, or caught sight for the first time of the love of your life. Maybe after too much caffeine, too. But aside from that, if you don't have a good explanation, it's not a good thing. The sinoatrial node controls your heart rate. But sometimes it doesn't act properly or it's overridden by another part of your heart's atrium. You can end up w/atrial fibrillation, whereby your heart rate speeds up & slows down irregularly and without reason, premature atrial contractions, or (paroxysmal) supraventricular tachycardia, whereby your heart speeds up and stays like that. There are some other less common heart rhythms.
With the latter two, sometimes you can slow it down by plunking your face in a bowl of ice water (in an attempt to invoke a diving reflex). Sometimes holding your breath and straining as if you're pushing out a constipated bowel movement (but don't!) will stop the episode. Assuming that you're not at risk for plaque in your carotid arteries, you can massage the side of your neck (and side at a time - we don't want you to faint!) close to your jaw and attempt to invoke your baroreceptors to slow down your heart.
If your heart rate is fast enough to make it difficult for you to breathe, you need to call 911 and have them take you to the emergency department (don't drive yourself b/c we don't want you to possibly faint and get in a car accident!). An electrocardiogram will help determine which abnormal heart rhythm you have. Plus the doctors there can give you some medicine to regulate your heart rate. If your episode stops before anyone can figure it out, they might recommend you wear a heart rate recording device, such as an event monitor or Holter monitor, to capture the fast heart rate.
If you have atrial fibrillation, they might talk to you about taking blood thinner to prevent strokes from occuring as a result of the atrial fibrillation. Beta blockers and the non-dihydropyridine class of calcium channel blockers can help put a limit on your heart rate. Of course, they'll also need to try to figure out why your heart is beating fast. For instance, too much thyroid (medicine) can do this. Or sometimes a (silent) heart attack can disrupt the electrical circuit of your heart.
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diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your
physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere.
If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.