Why arrhythmia occurs after eating

Author Ольга Кияница


Cardiologists and therapists are often treated by patients with complaints of heartbeat after eating. This condition may not pose a particular health threat, although in some cases specific treatment is required, up to medication administration.

Arrhythmia after eating is a common phenomenon, which is manifested by rapid heart rate. The feeling of flutter usually appears shortly after eating, with minutes or hours depending on the intensity of the pulse, as well as the underlying cause and the concomitant diseases.

In the normal state, the adult is determined from 60 to 90 beats per minute, and before the measurement, the subject should be 15-20 minutes at rest.

In most cases, heart palpitations are not dangerous. However, if a person first experiences frequent heartbeats, you need to talk about these symptoms with your doctor. If you have to experience signs such as cardiac arrest, pain in the arm, a feeling of discomfort or chest pressure, dizziness or shortness of breath, you should seek immediate medical attention.



If the heart starts to beat too fast or too much, trembles or works with interruptions, it means that a person experiences an arrhythmia. It can develop as a type of tachycardia, extrasystole, atrial flutter.

Rapid palpitation is often felt in the throat, chest or neck area. Some people may experience frequent heartbeats after eating as a "racing", "jumping" or "fluttering". The palpitation can become noticeable during meals or immediately after the end of the meal.

Overweight people often complain of a rhythm disturbance after eating, while a similar pathology is much less common among patients with normal weight.

Symptoms accompanying heart palpitations after eating

There are many clinical signs that can be combined with a heartbeat after eating. These symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Easy fatigue or severe fatigue
  • Pain in chest or behind sternum
  • Rigidity and tenderness in the chest
  • Too frequent and strong yawning
  • Sweating and anxiety
  • Discomfort in the abdomen
  • Inability to sleep peacefully after eating
  • Inconsistent Breath


List of factors that cause heart palpitations:

  • Excessive physical activity
  • The effects of various substances such as caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, amphetamines and cocaine
  • Concomitant diseases such as low blood pressure, thyroid disease, hypoglycemia, anemia, dehydration and fever
  • In women, hormonal changes during pregnancy, menstruation or perimenopause
  • Medications such as decongestants, asthma inhalers, diet pills and medications for arrhythmias and thyroid insufficiency
  • Food additives and plant substances
  • Disrupted electrolyte level

Types of Arrhythmia

There are several types of heart rhythm disturbances, among which most commonly occur atrial fibrillation / flutter, supraventricular tachycardia, ventricular (ventricular) tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation

  • Atrial fibrillation

It is an irregular reduction in the upper parts of the heart, which is almost always accompanied by too high heart rate.Pathology is widespread among the population and is mainly determined in elderly patients.

With the PT of the camera, instead of producing regular and strong compressions, they are inadvertently and inefficiently reduced. In some cases, the rate of atrial contraction can reach 350 beats / min, and in extreme cases - up to 600 beats / min.

  • Atrial flutter

Although fibrillation is represented by a variety of random and different atrial contractions, atrial flutter usually comes from one area in the atrium that does not impulses properly. At TP, the abnormal cardiac conduction is consistent. Yet none of these types of arrhythmia prevent the heart from working normally.

Some patients may experience alternating flutter and atrial fibrillation. Atrial flutter can be a serious illness, and in the absence of treatment it usually turns into fibrillation. The patient with atrial flutter, as a rule, is determined 250-350 beats / min.

  • Supraventricular tachycardia

It is an orderly, but abnormal and rapid heartbeat. The patient experiences an attack of accelerated heartbeats, an average lasting from several seconds to several hours. Basically, the patient with SVT heart rate is 160-200 beats / min.

  • Ventricular tachycardia

It is an abnormal operation of the heart, based on ventricular dysfunction and excessively fast heartbeat. Pathology often develops if there is a scar in the myocardium from a previous heart attack. Usually the ventricle with this form of arrhythmia is reduced more than 200 beats / minute.

  • Ventricular fibrillation

It is an irregular heartbeat, based on very fast, disordered, trembling ventricular contractions. In this state, they do not perform their functions normally, but simply tremble. Ventricular fibrillation is life threatening and is usually associated with heart disease or trauma. Also, the disease is often a complication of a heart attack.

  • The syndrome of the extended interval QT

It is defined as a violation of the heart rhythm, often causing a rapid, abnormal heartbeat. This condition can lead to loss of consciousness, and in severe cases - to cardiac arrest. Also, ventricular fibrillation can be triggered by genetic susceptibility or some drugs.

Arrhythmia after eating food

Palpitation can be caused by taking a large portion of food. After entering the food in the digestive tract, the body sends there an increased volume of blood, which allows you to activate the digestive process.

The amount of blood to the digestive tract depends on the size of the food eaten. This increase in blood circulation reaches its peak about 25-40 minutes after eating, and can last from 1 to 2 hours, corresponding to the digestion of food. To make up for this modification of the circulation, the heart must work harder. This can lead to a more rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), and other symptoms may appear, such as nausea, discomfort in the abdomen, etc.


If it is noted that heart palpitations tend to occur after taking large amounts of food, it is worth trying to consume food in smaller portions and more often throughout the day. In some cases, this method of solving the problem can help with other problems of the digestive system.

Stomach and vagus nerve

The wandering nerve is the cranial nerve that moves from the base of the head to the internal organs. The influence of the vagus nerve extends to the organs of breathing, digestion, and the work of the heart. Although these signals emanate from the brain, overstrain in the abdominal cavity caused by excessive food intake, gas accumulation or abdominal distension can also contribute to the excitation of a vagus nerve, called vagotonia.

This harmless excitement can cause instant disruption of the heart rhythm, that is, arrhythmia. Heartburn also can stimulate the vagus nerve, causing rapid heart rate by the type of tachycardia.

Foods that increase heart rate

Some foods act as heartbeat triggers. Rapid heartbeat after eating can also be caused by eating habits. Some of these triggers are in high doses of caffeine or alcohol, which are very easily tracked. Nevertheless, some people identify other types of food sensitivity, which a person is not always able to fully understand. In this case, the maintenance of a diary of food for several days or weeks helps to track the products to which the body reacts unfavorably.

Products and ingredients that can cause heart palpitations

  • Dishes with a high content of salt and nitrates. Most often they are shop-packed products, like semi-finished products.The labels often mention "monosodium glutamate" and this indicates the salt content of the product. A quick way to reduce the intake of these supplements is to eat more fresh food instead of canned or processed foods.
  • Some people with a sensitivity to gluten, which is found in large quantities in wheat and other similar cereals, determine in themselves an accelerated palpitation corresponding to meals containing gluten.
  • Nutrition based on sugars or "empty calories" can cause palpitations.
  • Foods containing carbohydrates, especially sugars, can also cause cardiovascular diseases, including arrhythmias.This is due to the functional ability of the body to process sugar. A high amount of this component causes disorganization of the pancreas, as it has to produce more insulin. Nevertheless, if the pancreas releases too much insulin, the blood sugar level may decrease and decrease to critical values. In such cases, a person may even lose consciousness. Low blood sugar can promote the release of adrenaline, which subsequently often contributes to the heartbeat.


Ultimately, if a person takes medication with food, it can help increase the heartbeat, and the drug, and not the dish, is to blame for this. In this case, you need to talk with your doctor about this situation, which will allow you not to rush to make any changes to your habitual lifestyle.

Some drugs that are known to cause heart palpitations are inhalers for the treatment of bronchial asthma or substitution drugs for the treatment of thyroid disorders. This is not a complete list of heartbeat triggers, so if you have to experience heart palpitations while eating, you should consult your doctor about whether the heart palpitations are a known side effect of the medicine taken.

Treatment of arrhythmia that occurs after eating

Palpitation is usually harmless and can disappear without any intervention or special treatment. In the event that there is a main cause of heart palpitations, the doctor usually suggests changing the settings that initiate a heartbeat.

In some cases, beta-blockers or calcium channel blockers are used if lifestyle changes do not help prevent heart palpitations. If the underlying disease causes arrhythmia, then in the first place treatment is directed to it. When the heart palpitations can not be cured conservatively, it may require the help of a cardiac pacemaker (electrophysiologist) to continue treatment. In extreme cases, surgical methods of action are used.

The table below shows the causes and tolerable treatments for arrhythmias that can be easily followed to avoid cardiac arrhythmias.

Cause Treatment
Eating immediately large amounts of food after fasting for a long period of time It is necessary to eat at regular intervals and in moderate amounts
Hormonal imbalance It is necessary to regularly check the level of hormones
Obesity It is important to limit the consumption of foods high in sugar and fat
Severe anemia Doctors can recommend special iron-containing preparations
Stress and anxiety It is necessary to reduce the influence of irritating factors, using relaxation and / or meditation techniques
Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, strong substances Avoid food, beverages and other substances that contribute to increased heart rate
Medicines, herbal supplements and food additives It is necessary to avoid drugs or plant supplements that cause arrhythmias


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