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Can Acid Reflux Cause Heart Palpitations?

written by: Kecia • edited by: BStone • updated: 10/25/2010

Can acid reflux cause palpitations? Learn how heart palpitations can be the result of acid reflux and GERD, and what other possibles causes could be contributed to the irregular heartbeats.

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    Acid Reflux

    Acid reflux is a common condition experienced by many people, generally after eating a meal. It involves the acids of the stomach coming back up into the esophagus. This can occur when there is a problem with the closing of the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach. GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is defined as the prolonged experience of acid reflux. Most people who suffer from acid reflux more than twice a week are said to have GERD.

    Heartburn is the most common symptom of acid reflux. The stomach acids that splash back up into the esophagus irritate the lining, causing a burning, painful situation. Acid reflux has also been known to cause chest pain, which can be mistaken for angina or even a heart attack.

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    Heart Palpitations

    Heart palpitations are noticeable changes in a person's heart rate and it can feel as though the heart is pounding, racing or skipping beats. They can generally be felt in the areas where the pulse can be taken, such as the neck or throat.

    Palpitations can be very uncomfortable to those that experience them, causing a great deal of anxiety and stress. They are usually not serious unless they are a sign of an underlying health condition such as arrhythmia, an abnormal heart rhythm that can be caused by a number of things. Many people who suffer from heartburn and the irregular heartbeat may seek the answer to the the question, can acid reflux cause heart palpitations?

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    The Link Between Acid Reflux and Heart Palpitations

    Many people wonder whether acid reflux can cause palpitations, especially if they suffer from both ailments. However, it has been largely determined that there is no direct connection between the two. Acid reflux can sometimes cause pain in the chest, which can cause a person to become anxious if they do not recognize the true reason for the discomfort. It is this anxiety that can alter the person's heart rate, which could be the immediate cause of the heart palpitations. Acid reflux can sometimes cause what feels like palpitations, but is actually muscle spasms of the esophagus.

    It has also be determined that various medications used to treat acid reflux and GERD can cause palpitations and chest pain. If you begin experiencing an irregular heartbeat after a certain medicine is used, you may want to contact your doctor about an alternative treatment method.

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    Other Causes for Heart Palpitations

    Many causes have been found for heart palpitations. In most cases, the exact cause cannot be determined unless another medical condition such as arrhythmia or coronary heart disease is present. The best way to treat unexplainable palpitations is to avoid the triggers can cause them.

    Common causes of heart palpitations can include:

    • Anxiety
    • Caffiene
    • Fatigue
    • Exercise
    • Overactive thyroid
    • Stress
    • Pseudoephedrine, a medication used to treat the common cold

    You should be careful to note any other symptoms that are accompany the heart palpitations. This can help you determine if there is a more serious condition causing the uncomfortable heartbeat. Having an acidic taste in mouth is common to acid reflux. Nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest can be angina or other heart related ailment.