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What Is the Connection between Palpitations and Acid Reflux?

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  • Written By: Kathleen Howard
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2016
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Acid reflux is a condition in which an individual frequently experiences discomfort due to stomach acid traveling into the esophagus. Some sufferers also experience heart palpitations during episodes of acid reflux, which leads many to question whether palpitations and acid reflux are somehow connected. While acid reflux has not been proven to cause palpitations, these conditions are brought on by many of the same causes. Popular acid reflux medications might also be responsible for the connection, as many of these medications can increase heart rate, cause chest pain, and lead to hypertension. It is also possible that some patients simply mistake the symptoms that accompany acid reflux with palpitations.

One explanation for the link between the two conditions is stress. Stress is a known cause and side effect of both these conditions. If an acid reflux sufferer is under a great deal of stress, it would not be abnormal for his or her emotional state to trigger heart palpitations.

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Stress is not the only condition that can lead to both palpitations and acid reflux. Many of the causes of palpitations and acid reflux are very similar. Both conditions are often caused by obesity, lack of exercise and poor diet. People who consume large amounts of alcohol, caffeine and tobacco products are also more likely to suffer from these conditions. While one condition does not actually cause the other, an individual who suffers from either acid reflux or palpitations might be at a higher risk for developing the additional condition.

The use of certain medications might also explain the connection between palpitations and acid reflux. Several commonly prescribed acid reflux medications are known to cause rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure and chest pain. These side effects can make an individual feel as though his or her heart is racing or beating irregularly. Individuals who begin suffering from palpitations after beginning an acid reflux medication should discuss this side effect with their physician.

Since the symptoms of palpitations and acid reflux are sometimes similar, it is possible that some patients mistake one condition for the other. For instance, chest pain is sometimes reported in both acid reflux patients and those suffering from heart palpitations. Acid reflux can also cause the esophagus to contract. Due to the location of the esophagus, some people might mistake this sensation for palpitations.

Individuals who believe they are experiencing palpitations should consult a physician. While heart palpitations are not usually serious, they can be an indication of a more serious health problem. A physician will diagnose the patient’s condition and, if necessary, help him or her begin treating the palpitations. In many cases, patients are able to begin managing palpitations by improving their diet, reducing stress levels, and strengthening their heart through exercise.

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