Palpitations are an uncomfortable awareness of your heartbeat. You may feel that your heart is beating harder or faster than usual or that it is skipping a beat or two. Palpitations are common and often normal. They are a symptom, not a disease. However, it is important to determine their cause.
Palpitations may be brought on by exercise, stress, anxiety, fear, smoking, alcohol, too much caffeine from coffee, colas or tea, anemia, heart problems such as mitral valve prolapse, thyroid problems, medicines such as diet pills and decongestants, or overdoses of such medicines as Theophylline and antidepressants, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), a lack of certain vitamins or minerals, low blood sugar, or an insulin reaction in diabetics.
Symptoms may include: thumping, pounding, or racing sensation in your chest fluttering sensation in your chest feeling of irregular beating or skipped beats.
Your health care provider will review your symptoms and examine you. You may have an electrocardiogram (ECG) or other tests to help find the cause. You may be given a heart monitor to wear at home. You may have an ultrasound test of the heart called an echocardiogram or an exercise stress test to see if heart problems are causing the palpitations.
Treatment of palpitations depends on the cause. Most often, no treatment is needed because the heart is otherwise normal. Drinking less coffee or alcohol, or none at all, may be all you need to do. Trying to reduce the stress in your life may help. Some medicines can decrease or eliminate the palpitations. Talk with your health care provider about this.
If the palpitations happen often, particularly, if you also have chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness, you may have another medical problem that your health care provider can identify and treat.
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