Palpitations - Symptoms, Types, Causes & Diagnosis

Palpitations - Symptoms, Types, Causes & Diagnosis

Palpitations refer to a sensation of your heart beating fast, hard, or irregularly. There is pounding, racing, fluttering, skipping a beat, or beating too slowly. Palpitations are commonly felt in the chest, throat, or neck....


Palpitations refer to a sensation of your heart beating fast, hard, or irregularly. There is pounding, racing, fluttering, skipping a beat, or beating too slowly. Palpitations are commonly felt in the chest, throat, or neck. It can occur at rest or during physical activity.

Palpitations are a common symptom and are often harmless. There may be a sign of an underlying heart condition or other medical problem. If you experience frequent palpitations, it is important to see a doctor.

Palpitations are abnormal awareness of your heartbeat, which can feel like a fluttering, racing, pounding, or skipping sensation. Palpitations can occur in the chest, neck, or throat

It can be caused by stress, anxiety, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, certain medications, hormonal changes, exercise, and underlying heart conditions. Some common heart conditions that can cause palpitations include atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, and supraventricular tachycardia.

Palpitations are often harmless and do not require treatment. However, if you experience frequent palpitations, your doctor may recommend tests to determine the underlying cause. Treatment may involve addressing any underlying medical conditions, making lifestyle changes, or taking medication.

Palpitations refer to an abnormal or irregular heartbeat that can be felt as a racing, pounding, or fluttering sensation in the chest. Palpitations are a common experience and are often harmless.

Palpitations can occur in people of all ages, but they are more common in older adults.

If you experience signs such as chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, or fainting, it is important to seek medical attention. These signs may imply a more severe medical problem that needs immediate attention.

Palpitations may be a warning indication that anything is amiss with the heart at an early stage. The foremost step in dealing with palpitations is to document them on an ECG while they are arising. Your doctor can usually detect immediately away if the palpitations are cause for concern based on the rhythm shown on the ECG.

Air can become stuck in your esophagus as a result of acid reflux, often known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The sensation may generate worry, which in turn triggers a brief episode of heart palpitations. Excess gas in the lungs might result in chest discomfort from gallbladder disease.

Heart palpitations are the term for these feelings. Heart palpitations often only happen once in a lifetime for most people. Some people have dozens of these heart flutters per day, some of which are so intense that they can mimic a heart attack. The majority of palpitations are brought on by a brief hiccup in the rhythm of the heart.

Heart palpitations normally do not damage and disappear on their own. Yet, there may occasionally be a medical explanation for them known as arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm). Heart palpitations might make you feel nervous and afraid even though they are frequent.

The majority of the time, heart palpitations don't need to be treated unless your doctor determines that an underlying condition is to blame. If there is no medical reason for your palpitations, you might be able to lessen your symptoms by Reducing stress and worry.

Palpitations might last for a short while or for a long time. This could be felt in your throat, neck, or chest. Palpitations can strike at any time, even while you're sleeping or going about your daily business. Although they might be uncomfortable, palpitations are frequently unharmful.

Stomach acid can accumulate in the chest as a result of acid reflux. Acid buildup can put pressure on the heart and cause palpitations. Stress hormones may be released as a result of acid reflux or GERD. The resultant rise in heart rate and heart palpitations may be brought on by these stress chemicals.

Causes of Palpitations

  • Anxiety and stress: Emotional stress and anxiety can cause the body to release stress hormones, which can trigger palpitations.
  • Caffeine: Consuming too much caffeine can increase heart rate and trigger palpitations.
  • Alcohol: Drinking alcohol can cause heart palpitations in some people.
  • Nicotine: Smoking and using other nicotine products can increase heart rate and trigger palpitations.
  • Medications: Specific medicines for example asthma inhalers, decongestants, and some medicine drugs, can induce palpitations as a side effect.
  • Hormonal changes: Palpitations can be caused by hormonal changes during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.
  • Exercise: Intense exercise or physical activity can cause palpitations.
  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, low blood sugar, and anemia, can cause palpitations. Supraventricular tachycardia can also cause palpitations.

It is vital to remark that in some circumstances, the reason for palpitations may be unspecified or idiopathic. If you are experiencing frequent palpitations, it is necessary to receive appropriate treatment if necessary.

Risk factors of Palpitations

  • Age: Palpitations are more common in older adults.
  • Gender: Women are more likely to experience palpitations than men.
  • Family record: People with a family record of heart disorder or arrhythmias may be at higher risk for palpitations.
  • Medical conditions: High blood pressure, thyroid problems, and diabetes, can increase the risk of palpitations.
  • Lifestyle factors: Lifestyle factors such as stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, caffeine and alcohol consumption, and smoking can also increase the risk of palpitations.
  • Medications and supplements: Some medications and supplements, such as decongestants, diet pills, and herbal supplements, can cause palpitations as a side effect.

However, if you are at higher risk, it's important to be aware of the symptoms of palpitations and talk to your doctor if you experience them frequently or persistently.

Signs and Symptoms of Palpitations

The main symptom of palpitations is an abnormal awareness of your heartbeat. This may feel like a fluttering, racing, pounding, or skipping sensation in the chest, throat, or neck. Palpitations may occur at rest or during physical activity and can endure for a few seconds or several minutes.

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat: Palpitations may cause your heart to beat quicker than ordinary or in an irregular habit.
  • Chest discomfort or pain: Palpitations may be accompanied by chest discomfort or pain, which may feel like a tightness or pressure in the chest.
  • Shortness of breath: Palpitations may cause you to feel short of breath, which can be especially concerning if it occurs with minimal exertion.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness: Palpitations may cause you to feel dizzy or lightheaded, which may be related to changes in blood flow or oxygen transport to the brain.
  • Fainting or near-fainting: In some cases, palpitations may be severe enough to cause you to faint or feel like you're about to faint.
  • Sweating: Palpitations may cause sweating.
  • Nausea or vomiting: Palpitations may cause nausea or vomiting.
  • Anxiety or panic: Palpitations can be a source of anxiety or panic, especially if you are worried about the cause or concerned that they may be a sign of a serious medical problem.
  • Fatigue or weakness: Palpitations may cause you to feel fatigued or weak, especially if they occur frequently or persistently.
  • The feeling of impending doom.
  • If you experience any of these symptoms along with palpitations, particularly if they are intense or constant, seek medical alert right away.

Diagnosis of Palpitations

The diagnosis of palpitations typically involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests.

  • Medical history: They may ask about factors that can trigger or worsen your palpitations, such as physical activity, stress, or caffeine intake.
  • Physical examination: The physician will perform a physical examination to assess your heart rate, rhythm, and blood pressure.
  • Diagnostic tests: Depending on the suspected reason for your palpitations, the doctor may request one or more diagnostic examinations, such as: 
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG): This test can help detect any abnormalities in your heart rhythm.Holter monitor: This is a movable ECG appliance that you wear for 24 to 48 hours to write down your heart rhythm during your normal workouts.
  • Echocardiogram: This is an examination that utilizes sound waves to develop images of your heart to assess its structure and function.
  • Blood tests: Blood tests are performed to check for underlying medical conditions that can cause palpitations, such as hyperthyroidism or anemia.
  • Stress test: It involves exercising on a treadmill or stationary bike while your heart rate and rhythm are monitored to assess your heart's response to physical activity.
  • Referral to a specialist: In some circumstances, the physician may guide you to a cardiologist for additional evaluation and leadership of your palpitations.

The specific diagnostic approach will depend on the individual case and the suspected cause of the palpitations.

Prognosis of Palpitations

The prognosis of palpitations depends on the underlying cause and any associated medical conditions. In many cases, palpitations are not serious and may not require treatment. However, if they are related to an underlying heart condition or other medical problem, prompt treatment may be necessary to prevent complications.

For illustration, if palpitations are induced by an arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), the prediction may rely on the kind and rigor of the arrhythmia, as well as the existence of any underlying heart disorder. Some can be life-threatening and may require medication, procedures such as ablation, or implantable devices such as pacemakers or defibrillators.

In general, the prognosis for palpitations is good if they are managed appropriately and any underlying medical conditions are treated. If left untreated, palpitations can lead to complications It's important to seek medical attention if you experience frequent palpitations or if they are accompanied by other symptoms.

Prevention of Palpitations

Prevention of palpitations depends on the underlying cause. Here is s some prevalent advice that may assist prevent palpitations:

  • Manage stress: Stress and anxiety can trigger palpitations in some people. Meditation and yoga may help decrease stress and stave off palpitations.
  • Caffeine and alcohol can increase the risk of palpitations. Limiting your intake of these substances may help prevent palpitations.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking can increase the risk of palpitations and other heart problems. Quitting smoking may help reduce the risk of palpitations and improve overall heart health.
  • Stay hydrated: Dehydration can cause palpitations in some people. Staying hydrated may help prevent palpitations.
  • Go for regular workouts: Regular workouts can help enhance heart health and diminish the chance of palpitations. However, if you retain an underlying heart situation.
  • Manage underlying medical situations: Palpitations may be a symptom of an underlying medical situation for example hyperthyroidism or anemia. Supervising these conditions may help prevent palpitations.

It's important to note that the prevention of palpitations will depend on the underlying cause, and it's important to talk to your doctor if you experience frequent palpitations.

Treatment of Palpitations

Here are some common treatments that may be used to manage palpitations:

  • Lifestyle changes: Making lifestyle changes such as reducing stress, limiting caffeine and alcohol intake, quitting smoking, staying hydrated, and maintaining a healthy weight may help reduce the frequency and severity of palpitations.
  • Medications: Depending on the underlying cause of palpitations, medications for example beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, or anti-arrhythmic drugs.
  • Procedures: In some circumstances, methods for example catheter ablation or implantable appliances such as pacemakers or defibrillators may be recommended to help manage palpitations.
  • Treating underlying medical conditions: If the palpitations are caused by an underlying medical condition such as hyperthyroidism or anemia, treating the condition may help reduce or eliminate palpitations.
  • Avoiding triggers: If certain triggers are identified, avoiding or managing them may help prevent palpitations. For example, if stress is a trigger, stress-management techniques such as deep breathing or meditation may be recommended.

It's important to note that the treatment of palpitations will depend on the underlying cause, and it's important to talk to your doctor if you experience frequent palpitations. Your physician can assist determine the underlying reason and formulate a relevant medical plan. In some circumstances, approach a cardiologist.

It's significant to speak to your physician about any signs of palpitations you experience, as they can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition.