Heart palpitations make you feel as though your heart is beating very rapidly or shallowly, sensations often described as “fluttering” or "skipping” beats. Sometimes, palpitations may also be felt in the neck or throat. Most palpitations are not serious, but if they become chronic or if they're accompanied by symptoms like chest pain, weakness, shortness of breath or dizziness, they may be a sign of a serious medical condition.
Many issues can cause palpitations, including:
In addition, some medicines can cause palpitations, including certain asthma medicines, diet pills, decongestants, and some herbal and nutritional supplements. Palpitations can also occur after vigorous exercise, especially if the body's electrolyte levels become imbalanced.
Treatments for palpitations can vary depending on what's causing the symptoms. The first step in treating palpitations is to undergo a physical exam and cardiac screening, which may include EKGs or wearing a cardiac event monitor to keep track of your heart's activity over a longer period of time. You'll also be asked about your lifestyle habits and your personal and family medical histories to look for clues that could help determine the underlying cause. Diagnostic imaging and other assessments may be used to evaluate the health of the heart. Once all these assessments have been completed, a treatment plan can be developed to address the specific underlying causes. Lifestyle changes like restricting alcohol consumption and quitting smoking or learning how to manage stress may help in some cases. If a heart issue is the culprit, taking medications like beta blockers can also be helpful while others may require procedures to address arrhythmias or other conditions.