What is a bounding pulse?
A bounding pulse is a pulse that feels as though your heart is pounding or racing. Your pulse will probably feel strong and powerful if you have a bounding pulse. Your doctor might refer to your bounding pulse as heart palpitations, which is a term used to describe abnormal fluttering or pounding of the heart.
How common is a bounding pulse?
Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of a bounding pulse?
With a bounding pulse, you may feel that your heart is beating faster than normal. You may feel your pulse in the arteries of your neck or throat. Sometimes you can even see the pulse as it moves the skin in a more forceful way.
It may also feel like your heart is beating irregularly or that it has missed a beat, or like there is an occasional extra, more forceful heartbeat.
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
Most incidences of a bounding pulse come and go within a few seconds and are not a cause for concern. However, talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you have a history of heart problems, such as heart disease, and have a bounding pulse.
If you experience any of the following symptoms along with your bounding pulse, get emergency medical care immediately, as these could be signs of a serious problem, like a heart attack:
- Abnormal sweating
- Difficulty breathing
- Tightness, pressure, or pain in your neck, jaw, arms, chest, or upper back
If you or your loved one has any signs or symptoms listed above or you have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes a bounding pulse?
There are a variety of bounding pulse causes, with some being more worrisome than others. However, in many cases, the cause for a bounding pulse is never found and thought to be insignificant enough to resolve on its own. Other cases where a bounding pulse is sustained and pronounced can point to a serious underlying problem. The following are some causes of bounding pulses:
- Being out of shape: One of the most common causes of a bounding pulse, as participating in strenuous activity forces the heart to work harder than it is used to, beating faster to circulate more blood.
- Anxiety: A natural response to stress and is hallmarked by a person’s worry about future events. Anxiety often makes one experience a fast heart rate and shakiness.
- Pregnancy: Often brings with it an increased need to urinate, tender breasts, fatigue, nausea, and changes in blood volume, which can cause bounding pulses.
- Fever: Having a high fever can produce a bounding pulse.
- Arrhythmia: Characterized by abnormal heart rhythms of the atria or ventricles, it can lead to the development of bounding pulses.
- Heart failure: A bounding pulse can be the result of a heart that cannot pump out blood as effectively as it used to.
- Anemia: Has several different causes but all essentially lead to insufficient delivery of oxygen to cellular tissue.
- Hyperthyroidism: Caused by the excess production of thyroid hormone from the thyroid gland. Thyroid hormone affects our metabolism, with high levels possibly increasing heart rate.
- Hypertension (High blood pressure): Generally considered a condition that presents with few or no symptoms, years of having high blood pressure can lead to the eventual development of other vascular conditions that can present with bounding pulses.
- Digitalis toxicity: A medication used to treat various heart conditions, digitalis can lead to bounding pulses in cases of overdose. This is an emergency condition that requires immediate medical attention.
- Aortic regurgitation
- Patent ductus arteriosus
- Aortopulmonary window
- Aneurysm of sinus of Valsalva
- Cor pulmonale
- Cirrhosis of liver
- Arteriovenous fistula
- Paget’s disease
- Chronic alcoholism
What increases my risk for a bounding pulse?
Please consult with your doctor for further information.
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is a bounding pulse diagnosed?
Try to keep track of when your bounding pulse occurs and what you are doing when it happens. Also, be knowledgeable of your family’s medical history. This information will help your doctor to diagnose any condition that may be causing your symptom.
Your doctor will discuss your medical history to see if you have a personal or family history of heart problems, thyroid disease, or stress and anxiety. Your doctor will also look for a swollen thyroid gland, which is a sign of hyperthyroidism. They may perform tests such as a chest X-ray or electrocardiogram to rule out arrhythmia. An electrocardiogram uses electrical pulses to trigger your heartbeat. This will help your doctor find irregularities in the rhythm of your heart.
How is a bounding pulse treated?
Unless your bounding pulse is caused by an underlying condition such as arrhythmia or hyperthyroidism, medical treatment is usually not necessary. However, if being overweight is causing the problem, your doctor may advise you about ways to lose weight and live a healthier, more active lifestyle.
If you are found to be healthy overall, your doctor may simply recommend ways to reduce your exposure to triggers of your abnormal heartbeat, such as stress or too much caffeine.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage a bounding pulse?
If your bounding pulse is caused by a health condition such as hyperthyroidism or an arrhythmia, be sure to follow the health regimen your doctor recommends. This includes taking any medications that they have prescribed.
If you are overweight and experiencing bounding pulse, try to find healthy ways to lose weight and get in shape. Some fun, easy ways to work fitness into your schedule include:
- Taking your dog or the neighbor’s dog for a walk
- Using television time to be active by lifting weights, walking on the treadmill, or riding your exercise bike
- Doing chores such as mopping the floor, scrubbing the bathtub, mowing the lawn with a push mower, raking leaves, and digging in the garden
- Making fitness your family time such as riding bikes together, playing catch, walking, or running
- Starting a lunchtime walking group at work
If stress and anxiety seem to be the culprit, take steps to reduce them by doing things like:
- Laughing more: Watch a comedy or read a funny book
- Connecting with friends and family: Make plans to meet for dinner or coffee
- Getting outside: Take a walk or ride your bike
- Meditating: Quiet your mind
- Getting more sleep
- Keeping a journal
Once your doctor has determined that you don’t have any serious underlying causes for your heart palpitations, try not to worry about them too much. Worrying about your irregular heartbeat only adds additional stress to your life.
Limiting your alcohol and caffeine consumption can also help to keep your pulse from bounding. Some herbs (such as those used in energy drinks), medications, and even tobacco smoke can act as stimulants and should be avoided. Talk to your doctor about stimulant medications you may be on (like those used for asthma) and what your options may be for using an alternative. Do your best to avoid any potential triggers of your bounding pulse.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
What Causes Bounding Pulse? https://www.healthline.com/health/bounding-pulse Accessed March 7, 2018
Bounding pulse: Causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention https://www.belmarrahealth.com/bounding-pulse-causes-symptoms-diagnosis-treatment-prevention/ Accessed March 7, 2018
Review Date: March 7, 2018 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019