I feel my heart beating sometimes. That’s normal I am told, and lots of people feel their hearts beating, too. But sometimes my heartbeat pounds—not fast, but harder or stronger. Sometimes, that’s called heart palpitations.
Recently, I asked a trusted doctor why I occasionally feel my heart beating and why it seems to pound sometimes, too. He told me most people have a normal, strong beating heart—one of more than 600 muscles in the body. He reminded me that many scientists consider the heart one of the strongest human muscles.
He also said that the body sometimes generates and releases a chemical called adrenaline. He described it as a occurring normally, but it also serves the well-known fight or flight response.
He explained this internal response as a strong physical reaction to anger, fear, or resolve. When it occurs, the body produces lots of adrenaline and circulates it throughout all areas. It chemically stimulates our muscles to give us extra physical strength. It can produce the extra muscle power required to lift a heavy object off a victim, and it can strengthen muscles to flee fast in a dire situation.
Adrenaline makes muscles contract more strongly—especially the heart muscle.
The doctor also told me he has actually seen the effect of adrenaline on a beating human heart. And he suggested that sensing my heart pounding is not my imagination—it is caused by adrenaline, and it’s a normal cardiac response most people experience.
Information like this helps me understanding my body and my health. It also encourages me to ask questions, especially about my heart. Knowledge is power, and it’s important and reassuring. Please tell me something you know about your heart.