Most Common Causes for Heart Palpitations

Under normal circumstances, your heart quietly pumps up to 2,000 gallons of blood throughout your body each day. And it accomplishes this Herculean task without much fanfare. But when you feel a disruption in your heart rate, you sit up and take notice. 

Heart palpitations are fairly common and, thankfully, they usually aren’t cause for concern. In less common cases, though, these sensations may signal a larger problem that requires a closer look.

At Heart Rhythm Associates, Dr. Van H. De Bruyn has devoted his medical career to heart health, and he understands when heart palpitations may be problematic. To help you discern the difference between a harmless sensation and a more serious issue with the function of your heart, we’ve pulled together a list of the most common causes of heart palpitations and when you should seek help.

Behind a palpitation

As we discussed above, your heart is hard at work every second of your life, but it usually does its job quietly. When you become aware of, or sense, your heartbeat, this is called a palpitation. A palpitation can manifest itself in many ways, including the feeling that your heart is:

You may feel these sensations in your chest or in your neck or throat.

Behind the palpitation

Most people experience heart palpitations at some point during their lives. These sensations can develop for any number of reasons, including when you are:

They may also occur if you drink too much caffeine or take certain medications, such as cold and flu remedies or asthma medications that contain stimulants. 

In any of these cases, heart palpitations aren’t usually dangerous and quickly resolve themselves on their own.

But if you’re experiencing frequent heart palpitations, they could be a sign of a larger problem.

When palpitations are problematic

If you routinely have the sensation that your heart isn’t functioning normally, it may be because it isn’t. The most common condition that can lead to heart palpitations is an arrhythmia, which is an irregular heartbeat. 

To determine whether you have an arrythmia, Dr. De Bruyn turns to several diagnostic tools that measure your heart’s performance, including:

Armed with this information, Dr. De Bruyn can determine whether your heart palpitations stem from a physical or functional problem and take the appropriate steps.

An occasional heart palpitation is perfectly normal, but if you have ongoing issues with a fluttering or racing heart, it’s best to rule out more serious issues. To get started, call our Little Rock, Arkansas, office or use our online form to contact us.

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