Heart palpitations are the sensation of an accelerated heartbeat, whether it is fluttering, rapid, or pounding. They can be felt in the chest, as well as the neck. While heart palpitations are usually not cause for concern, in certain rare cases they can be a symptom of a serious heart condition that requires treatment for a heart arrhythmia, like atrial fibrillation.
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Causes of Heart Palpitations
Although the cause cannot be identified for many patients, common causes for heart palpitations include:
- Emotional stress or anxiety
- Strenuous exercise
- Excessive caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol use
- Fluctuating hormones associated with menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause
- Stimulants found in some medications for colds and asthma
Sometimes simply minimizing or avoiding these triggers prevents further episodes. There are times when there is cause for concern.
Cause for Concern
Heart palpitations can be a sign of a life-threatening medical condition when they are accompanied by:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest discomfort or pain
- Fainting (syncope)
If you’re concerned about heart palpitations, consult with your physician to find out if you should undergo heart monitoring tests.Back to Top