Olusegun-Joseph: Palpitation can be dangerous, depending on the cause
The heart is a very vital organ that should be in a good condition. Many times, we overwork it and make it do things that it should not do. As humans, a lot of us experience palpitation, which has to do with the heart beating and making you feel like your heart is skipping. This can be bothersome sometimes.
Palpitation is the awareness of the heartbeat, says Dr. Akisanya Olusegun-Joseph, a Consultant Cardiologist at Lagos University Teaching hospital (LUTH). “We use that term, when one is anxious. A lot of factors, such as fear, fever, thyroid, hypertension, stress, excitement, recreational drugs, anaemia (shortage of blood), and even drugs prescribed to asthmatic patients such as, ventolin can lead to palpitation. There are also other causes of palpitation, which include exercise, heart disease, taking coffee and soft drinks, among others.”
He explains that irregular heartbeat (Arrhythmias) is one of the causes of palpitation. “When you are aware of your heartbeat, then that is palpitation, and it can be dangerous, depending on the cause. But before talking about treatment, the actual cause of the palpitation should be checked. “The doctor should check the medical history and ask questions to ascertain the reason for the palpitation and address it.”
Anyone can have palpitation, irrespective of age. Treatment option for palpitation depends on the cause. Some requires treatment, while others don’t need treatment.“For instance, if coffee or coke intake is the cause of the palpitation, the right thing to do is advise that person to avoid those things. If it is anxiety, psychotherapy will have to be done on the patient or he/she can be referred to a psychologist. If it is a heart disease, a cardiologist will have to come in and deal with that. Dealing with the background cause is the key to addressing palpitation. If questions have been asked and it is still not clear what is wrong with the patient, Electrocardiogram (ECG) has to be done,” says the expert.Olusegun-Joseph advised people to abstain from anything that triggers palpitation, go on a healthy diet, avoid stress and try to rest well.
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