Heart palpitations feel like having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart. Stress, exercise, medication, or rarely a medical condition can cause them. The heart palpitations can be alarming, they’re usually harmless. In some cases, they can be one among the symptoms of a serious heart condition, like an irregular arrhythmia, that might require treatment.
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Palpitations can be caused by heart conditions including:
ArrhythmiaAn arrhythmia is a problem with the rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart beats either too fast or too slowly, or with an irregular rhythm.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM): Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the heart muscle becomes hypertrophied (abnormally thick). The thickened heart muscle can make it more difficult for the heart to pump blood.
Heart failure: Heart failure can be caused by coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, heart attack, cardiomyopathy. Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle doesn’t pump blood like normally does.
Congenital heart disease: Congenital Heart Disease is known as a congenital heart defect. The congenital heart is a defect in the structure of the heart that is present at birth.
Heart valve disease: Heart valve disease occurs when the heart valves do not work properly.
Coronary artery disease: Coronary artery disease is the blockage of the coronary arteries. This condition is usually caused by the build-up of Cholesterol and fatty deposits inside the arteries.
Shortness of breath
Pulse rate over or less than the normal pulse rate
Having heart disease or family history, recurrent fainting, or unexplained seizure disorder
Exercise, particularly if they cause loss of consciousness
Electrocardiography (ECG): This records the electrical activity of the heart through electrodes attached to the skin.
Electrophysiologic Testing: An Electrophysiology (EP) is a test that records the electrical activity and the electrical pathways of the heart.
Coronary angiography: A coronary angiogram is a procedure that uses X-ray imaging to see the heart’s blood vessels. The test is done to see if there is a restriction in blood flow going to the heart.
Echocardiogram: An Echocardiogram is a test that uses sound waves to produce echocardiograms (images of your heart). This common test to see the heart beating and pumping blood.
Imaging studies, stress testing, or both
Treatment depends on the cause of the palpitations. If you have heart palpitations then the doctor refers to the cardiologist for further evaluation and treatment.
If no major cause for heart palpitations is detected, then the patient might be prescribed medication or non-medical suggestions, like lifestyle changes and dietary habits.
When to see a doctor?
Talk to your doctor if you notice that your heart rate is faster than normal. Doctors cannot always identify the cause of heart palpitations. They will need to rule out cardiac arrhythmias like tachycardia and other medical conditions like hyperthyroidism.
There is usually little risk of complications with heart palpitations unless they are caused by underlying heart disease. If they are caused by heart disease, you may experience:
Fainting if your heart is beating too fast and your blood pressure drops
Cardiac arrest if your palpitations are caused by arrhythmias and your heart is not beating effectively
Stroke if your palpitations are related to atrial fibrillation.
Heart failure if your heart does not pump well for a long time.
Talk to your doctor if you have palpitations along with other symptoms or if you have any other health concerns.
When feeling anxious or stressed, try relaxation exercises, deep breathing, and yoga.
Limit intake of caffeine. Avoid caffeine-containing energy drinks.
Stick to a healthy diet.
Reduce alcohol intake.
Try to keep the blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control.
Palpitations can be caused by heart conditions and many other causes include certain medicines, hormone changes, alcohol, smoking, recreational drugs, vigorous exercise, stress, anxiety or nervousness, panic attacks, Coronary artery disease, Congenital heart disease, Heart valve disease, Heart failure, Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy(HCM), Arrhythmia, Anemia, Hyperthyroidism.
Heart palpitations feel like having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart. When you experience heart palpitation along with these symptoms Light-headedness, Chest pain, Shortness of breath, Pulse rate over or less than the normal pulse rate, a family history, loss of consciousness. Immediately seek a medical emergency or consult the doctor.