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A heart palpitation is the sensation that your heart has skipped a beat or added an extra beat. It may feel like your heart is racing, pounding, or fluttering. You may become overly aware of your heartbeat. This sensation can also be felt in the neck, throat, or chest. It’s also possible that your heart rhythm can change during the palpitations.
Most heart palpitations are harmless and resolve on their own without treatment. But in rare cases, heart palpitations can indicate a serious condition.
Possible causes of heart palpitations include:
Most heart palpitations are harmless, but they can indicate you have an illness when you also have:
Seek medical attention right away if you have heart palpitations and a diagnosed heart problem. You should also seek medical attention if you have palpitations that occur with other symptoms such as:
These could be symptoms of a more serious condition.
The cause of heart palpitations can be very difficult to diagnose, especially if the palpitations don’t occur while you’re in the doctor’s office.
Your doctor will conduct a thorough physical exam to identify a cause. Be prepared to answer questions about your
If necessary, your doctor may refer you to a heart specialist called a cardiologist. Tests to help rule out certain diseases or heart problems include:
Treatment depends on the cause of your palpitations. Your doctor will need to address any underlying medical conditions.
Most of the time, the doctor isn’t able to find the cause and they aren’t able to provide treatment.
If your palpitations are due to lifestyle choices such as smoking or consuming too much caffeine, cutting down or eliminating those substances may be all that you need to do. Ask your doctor about alternative medications or treatments if you think medication may be the cause.
If your doctor tells you that treatment isn’t necessary, you can take these steps to decrease your chance of getting palpitations:
Written by: Ann Pietrangelo
Medically reviewed on: Mar 08, 2017: University of Illinois-Chicago, College of Medicine
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