Can My Heart Actually Skip A Beat?


Catching a glimpse of the woman of your dreams can wreak havoc on your body: Your heart pounds, words escape you and you might even feel the need to hurl. Other sensations associated with nerves and excitement—e.g., clammy hands and a dry mouth—also are common among the lovestruck.

The concept of your heart skipping a beat, however, is more myth than reality.

There are many different kinds of arrhythmia, but none of them involve your heart actually skipping a beat. In fact, that sensation is caused by the exact opposite thing—an extra beat, which cardiologists refer to as a premature heartbeat.

Your heartbeat is governed by electrical impulses that originate in the sinus node of your heart. According to the Mayo Clinic, most people have a resting heartbeat of somewhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute. The rhythm mostly becomes irregular because of blocked arteries, drug and alcohol abuse or extreme stress.

How does love come into play? If you’re lucky enough to be getting so romantic at night that you’re missing out on sleep, overuse of stimulants such as coffee can lead to tachycardia, or a rapid heartbeat. And if you have any type of arrhythmia, don’t even consider taking the little blue pill to enhance your romantic experience. Viagra was originally designed to treat high blood pressure and can cause serious side effects when combined with an existing cardiac condition.

Otherwise, your heart rate should be just fine. So don’t waste time on Valentine’s Day worrying about it. Instead, keep your eyes on the road, and show up to your date on time, hopefully without any dramatic van crashes.

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