Feeling the heart beating in the throat or neck or a pounding heart in the throat. Everyone has to deal with it at some point, some more than others. The palpitations in the throat are often temporary and disappear with rest. Sometimes it occurs several days in a row. There is not always something serious going on: in most cases the complaints disappear on their own. In other cases, further investigation is indicated.
Feeling of the heart in the throat
The heart is located in the middle behind the sternum, more to the left. The heart pumps the blood, this can be felt when you place your hand on the chest at the level of the heart. The blood is pumped through arteries that branch more and more, so that the blood ends up everywhere in the body. The pumping of the heart can therefore also be felt in the large veins. Just think of the wrist or neck. It is therefore possible to sometimes feel the heartbeat in the throat without placing a finger on the neck.
Why on the neck and not on the wrist?
The heart rate can be measured at the neck and wrist. But why is the beating of the heart felt in the neck and not on the wrist for some? This has to do with the upward movement that must be made in the carotid artery. This makes the pulse more powerful. Just lift the wrist above the heart: the pulse is now much more powerful than when the wrist is held down. In addition, the pulse (heartbeat) in the neck is much easier to feel due to the location and size of the carotid artery.
Why do you feel your heart in your throat?
During panic or stress, your heart can be felt in your throat. The heart can then be clearly felt on both sides of the larynx, without having to lay a finger on it. A heart rhythm disorder can also be felt in the throat. An increased heart rate is also often felt in the throat. In addition, there are certain medications and substances that make the heart beat faster or irregularly. Caffeine/theine and alcohol are such substances. In all cases, more blood is pumped around temporarily. This blood is pushed through the carotid artery, which is clearly palpable. Sometimes it can even be seen by someone else with the naked eye: there is a clear throbbing in the neck.
Is it dangerous?
In most cases, palpitations in the throat are caused by a startle response, stress or panic and are only temporary. Heavy exertion can also cause temporary palpitations in the throat. However, in a small number of cases there is something else going on, such as a heart rhythm disorder. This can be recognized by a regularly noticeable change in the heart rhythm, shortness of breath, dizziness, headache or other complaints that mainly occur during exertion. A heart rhythm disorder is not immediately dangerous at first, but in the long term it can cause clots in the heart. These clots can cut off the supply, resulting in a heart attack. It is therefore often necessary to use blood thinners in case of a heart rhythm disorder. These can significantly reduce the risk of clots. If palpitations are caused by certain medications or substances, it is better to stop taking them. Consult with your doctor when taking medication. This will measure the heart rate and determine whether other medications are more suitable.
Do not panic
Although the beating of the heart in the throat can sometimes feel frightening, very often there is no reason to panic. A heart attack or myocardial infarction causes very different symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, a tight feeling and the feeling as if an elephant is standing on the chest. Find out why you feel your heart in your throat. You often notice that this is in response to stress or anxiety. Breathe calmly and sit down for a moment. If necessary, talk to someone to divert attention from yourself. The more you focus on your heart rate, the longer it takes for it to return to normal. Paying attention to it only causes more tension or panic. So don’t measure your heart rate. If you often suffer from palpitations in your throat, you can ask your doctor for advice. This will look at your heart rhythm and possibly refer you to a heart specialist (cardiologist).
- Heart attack: every second counts
- Heart film or ECG