Benign heart palpitations are irregular heartbeats that are not harmful in effect. Benign palpitations appear as a noticeable asymmetrical pulsation of the heart described as fluttering in the chest, a feeling that your heart is beating too hard or as a skipped heartbeat. Heart palpitations are also termed PVCs or premature ventricular contractions which are extra, abnormal heartbeats that happen within the ventricles or lower pumping chambers. Benign PVCs or palpitations disrupt your regular heart rhythm but are not life threatening. Never assume your palpitations are benign, always consult cardiologist for diagnosing.
Symptoms of benign palpitations
Physical features of benign palpitations are described as heart skips beat when lying down, heart skips beat when bending over, palpation when standing up, palpitations when waking up or during or after exercising. Pulsations of the heart can be mild or non-existent in the morning and worsen at night. Benign palpitations can be strong heartbeats or a light flutter. But what causes benign heart palpitations and how do you stop heart palpitations?
What causes benign palpitations?
Benign palpitations can arise for many reasons. It is not fully understood what causes benign palpitations although in many cases insulin resistance triggers it.
Insulin resistance is described as an impaired response of the body to insulin which can result in elevated levels of glucose in the blood. A fasting glucose of 100+ mg/dl can be evidence of insulin resistance. The effects of insulin resistance include;
- Feeling hunger after a meal and weight gain.
- Increased need or frequency of urination.
- Feeling more tired than usual.
- Evidence in lab work.
- Low testosterone levels.
- Blood pressure measurements of 130/80 or higher.
- Skin tags.
- A fasting triglyceride level of 149 mg/dl or higher.
Insulin resistance occurs when excess glucose levels in the blood reduces the ability of the cells to absorb and use blood sugar for energy. It is not fully understood how insulin resistance causes palpitations but ideally your goal should be to improve insulin sensitivity and avoid things that make insulin resistance worse. So if insulin resistance is causing your palpitations, what can you do to improve insulin sensitivity?
How to improve insulin sensitivity?
Aside from genetics, age and ethnicity, there are several things you can do to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin resistance.
- Lose weight. Obesity has a strong association with lowered sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). Low sex hormone-binding globulin are not only linked to insulin resistance but are independently correlated with low free testosterone values in overweight males.
- Supplement with testosterone. Testosterone has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity by up to 30 percent. Improving insulin sensitivity can help reduce PVCs, dramatically.
- Too much triiodothyronine (T3) hormone. Testosterone replacement clinics often prescribe patients T3 thyroid hormones to “speed up the metabolism” and lose weight. However, the more T3 you consume, the worse your insulin resistance becomes. If you don’t need it, don’t take it.
- Anastrozole worsens insulin resistance. Anastrozole decreases the amount of estrogen in the body. Low estrogen levels intensify insulin resistance. If using a non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor in conjunction testosterone as part of a TRT protocol, consider dropping anastrozole for 2 weeks to see if your heart palpitations lessen.
- Ask your doctor about Metformin HCL ER. As mentioned earlier. It is often the case that insulin resistance is what causes benign palpitations or PVCs. Metformin is a blood glucose-lowering drug that decreases insulin resistance and improves insulin sensitivity. Its effects are not as dramatic as testosterone replacement, but it is still effective, especially in combination with weight loss and diet.
- Eliminate sugar or carbohydrates. It’s important to eat an abundance of vegetables high in fiber and low in sugar. High carb diets make insulin resistance worse, and subsequently, dramatically increase benign palpitations. The more you eat, the worse it gets, especially over time.
- Experiment with magnesium supplements. Magnesium supplementation with 2.5 g MgCl2. Magnesium has been shown to (slightly) help improve insulin sensitivity, especially in people who suffer from type 2 diabetes.
- Reduce stress. The hormone cortisol increases when stress levels go up. Sugar, obesity, lack of sleep also increase cortisol. Cortisol increases glucose in the bloodstream. When cortisol levels rise you become insulin resistant.
Benign palpitations might not kill you, but the life style you live, can. If your cardiologist diagnosis you with having benign palpitations, make sure you quickly discover what is causing your palpitations. Ask your doctor for a fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test and or AIC test to diagnose insulin resistance. If you are insulin resistant, change the things that are causing it and avoid medications, if possible, that make it worse. Lose weight, eat right, reduce stress, follow your doctors medication advice and your palpitations will most likely go away.