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Palpitations are pounding or racing feelings in your heart. You may become suddenly aware of your heartbeat, or feel that your heartbeat is not as it used to be.

You may feel skipped beats, or pauses; you could feel extra beats, a flip-flopping sensation, or a flutter in your chest. Those are all symptoms of heart palpitations.

What are heart palpitations?

Palpitations are perceived changes in rate, rhythm, or strength of the heartbeat. Although this can be frightening, it usually is not as serious as many people think.

 

Causes of heart palpitations

Palpitations are a common consequence of anxiety, lack of sleep, certain medicines, caffeine, or too much heavy exercise. They also may be a sign of heart disease or some other diseases that affects the heart or other parts of the body. Palpitations usually occur when something disrupts the normal electrical activity or function of the heart. They could occur when the heart is beating too quickly, too slowly, or irregularly. You could also feel heart palpitations when the heart is contracting more forcefully than usual. Sometimes palpitations occur for unknown reasons in people with no evidence of heart disease or arrhythmia at all. Arrhythmias may occur in otherwise healthy individuals in response to certain lifestyle factors. Arrhythmias commonly appear in situations with people using prescription medications or other drugs. In some individuals, arrhythmias occur due to an underlying condition or illness as a previously existing problem.

Lifestyle factors that can cause palpitations include strong emotions, strenuous exercise, smoking, and consuming too much caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, cola, or other caffeine-containing product such as chocolate. Drinking too much alcohol, experiencing stress or anxiety, using certain medications (diet pills or thyroid hormone replacement), and certain recreational drugs could provoke heart palpitations.

Some of the conditions that can cause palpitations include serious illness or fever, nausea and vomiting, thyroid gland disease, anemia (a decreased number of red blood cells), and heart disease. It is not so rare that lung disease and adrenal gland tumor, as well as hypoglycemia, provoke heart palpitations. Pregnancy is also a condition sometimes marked with heart palpitations. Patients with heart disease, rhythm problems, or valve problems such as mitral valve prolapse are very likely to have heart palpitations. Medicines, such as diet pills, some herbal supplements, and certain cold and allergy remedies are a possible cause of heart palpitations as well.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palpitation
  • www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003081.htm
  • heartdisease.about.com/cs/arrhythmias/a/palpitations.htm