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Heart and cardiovascular system

Anxiety and tachycardia: how to keep the heart at bay

March 26, 2018

The heart knows how to be heard and when a situation worries or excites us, it particularly begins to beat faster, giving us the feeling of no longer being able to breathe deeply. The heart muscle is also the first to reveal that we are in love or that we are suffering from an anxiety disorder. The so-called “heartbeat”, if rare, does not represent a danger. Conversely, repeated tachycardia episodes may be an indication of a problem that needs to be investigated with a specialist. We spoke about this topic with Dr. Maddalena Lettino, head of the Humanitas Division for Cardiology and Heart Failure.



When the heart is warning us about something


“Tachycardia is the prevalent manifestation of many arrhythmias – explained Lettino; the most common of these, atrial fibrillation, starts with a feeling of completely irregular palpitations and it can be associated with shortness of breath, great weakness and even fainting. Tachycardia can be the first symptom revealing heart failure, sometimes an inflammation of the heart that can evolve towards a very unfavorable prognosis. The appearance of an unusual tachycardia, which is not associated with a particular emotional stress, which is maintained over time, regardless of the activity carried out, and presents itself along with other symptoms must prompt the person who experiences it to consult his doctor for further evaluation”.

The first thing to do if you have repeated tachycardia episodes is to consult an expert. Once pathologies of any kind have been excluded, it is possible to put into practice a series of actions that can help us to cope with the normal moments of nervous tension to which everyone is subjected in life. Let’s see what these may include:


Diaphragmatic breathing: Breathing and focusing attention on the breath helps to control one’s emotions and free the mind from the thoughts that oppress us. Training your breath control with the diaphragm is a great way to learn how to cope with moments of anxiety and stress, making the body and mind stronger. Breathing can also be combined with fast walking that increases the production of some neurotransmitters that act on the tone of mood and facilitate the achievement of an immediate feeling of well being and relaxation.


Acupressure: This is a traditional Chinese technique of self-massage that helps to calm states of nervous tension. With the palm of your left hand facing up, you must locate the first fold of your wrist on the side of the little finger and with your thumb of your right hand, press for about 10 seconds, rotating slightly towards the little finger. The operation is then repeated on the other wrist.


Aromatherapy: Perfumes and colors can have a calming effect in situations of daily stress. If our heartbeat accelerates and we feel particularly under pressure it may be useful to moisten a handkerchief with two to three drops of lavender essence and breathe in its scent.


Contact with nature: The presence of plants and the sight of the green color of the grass and foliage is able to give an immediate psychophysical well-being in small states of anxiety. A walk in nature, as well as relaxing, helps to keep fit and allows us to expose ourselves to the sun just enough for the body to stock up on vitamin D.

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