Heart palpitations occur when the heart beats irregularly or the heartbeats feel strange. The feeling of palpitations can be different for every person, and they can be caused by many different things. Some people experience mild palpitations occasionally, and others feel them often and severely. They can be scary, and many patients are confused by them. They can be treated with a proper diagnosis. It is important to see a doctor if you have heart palpitations because they could be a sign of a more serious problem.
The causes of heart palpitations can vary. In most cases, the cause of the palpitations is something common and nothing to worry about. In other cases, it can be a sign of a heart condition or another problem. Some of the most common causes of heart palpitations include:
- Strong emotional responses
- Panic attacks
- Strenuous exercise
- Hormone changes
- Too much or too little thyroid hormone
The serious arrhythmias that can cause palpitations include:
- Supraventricular Tachycardia
- Ventricular Tachycardia
- Atrial Fibrillation and Atrial Flutter
- Sinus Tachycardia
- Ectopic Beats like PVCs and PACs
In many cases, palpitations are not the problem but a symptom of the problem. They can be different for everyone, and some people barely notice them. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Skipping beats
- Fluttering rapidly
- Beating too fast
Because the symptoms of heart palpitations are so common and can mimic so many other illnesses and diseases, it can be hard for doctors to diagnose the causes. In most cases, a physical exam and an explanation of the symptoms are not enough for a diagnosis. Further tests are often needed to determine the seriousness of the palpitations and the cause. The diagnosis can also help doctors figure out if treatment is needed. Some of these tests include:
- Holter monitoring
- Event recording
In most cases, no treatment is required for heart palpitations, and they go away on their own. If doctors diagnose a heart problem related to the palpitations, treatment may be necessary. That treatment usually depends on the cause or disease as well as the patient’s overall health. Some common treatments include:
- Reducing Stress: Patients should get plenty of sleep and avoid stressful situations. Many people who suffer from heart palpitations can reduce stress through relaxation techniques, yoga, or even meditation.
- Avoiding Stimulants: Certain things may cause heart palpitations. These things are known as stimulants. They can include certain foods, alcohol, smoking, drugs, exercise, and stress.
- Avoiding Drugs: Drug can cause the heart to work in overtime and are bad in general. Anyone suffering from a heart condition or heart palpitations should avoid illegal drugs.
- Medications: There are different medications like beta blockers or calcium channel blockers used to slow down the heart rate and skipped beats.
- Ablation: Sometimes the medications may not work and patients may require special procedure like ablation to treat.
The prognosis for most people who are suffering from heart palpitations is good. Most are not caused by anything serious and go away on their own within a few days. Patients who do experience any of the symptoms of heart palpitations should see a cardiologist to rule out heart conditions or other health problems. With the proper diagnosis and treatment, people who suffer from palpitations can live normal lives.