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.

Symptoms of heart palpitations

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
  • Pounding
  • Flip-flopping

Causes of heart palpitations

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
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Stimulants
  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine
  • Drugs
  • Fever
  • Hormone changes
  • Too much or too little thyroid hormone

How heart palpitations are evaluated?

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:

  • Electrocardiogram
  • Holter monitoring
  • Event recording
  • Echocardiogram
  • Stress test

Heart palpitation treatments

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
  • Avoiding stimulants
  • Avoiding drugs
  • Medications
  • Ablation