Heart palpitations refer to the feeling that the heart is skipping a beat, fluttering or beating too quickly.
Heart palpitations are commonly caused by exercise, some medicines, nicotine, caffeine or anxiety. They can also be caused by fever, hormone changes associated with menstruation, pregnancy or menopause. They are relatively harmless.
However, palpitations may also be caused by a more serious condition that requires medical care. For instance, you may experience them if you have arrhythmia, heart disease, heart valve disease, thyroid disease or abnormal levels of oxygen in your blood.
Heart palpitations feel like your heart is fluttering, skipping a beat, or beating too hard, too quickly, or too slowly. You may feel these sensations in your chest, throat or neck.
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience heart palpitations with other symptoms that signal a serious cardiac condition. Look for symptoms like:
If you’re experiencing heart palpitations, it’s important to determine whether they’re harmless or caused by a more serious heart problem. Your doctor will perform a physical exam and may recommend several tests to look for underlying causes:
Most heart palpitations will go away on their own. In some cases you may need treatment if an underlying heart condition is causing them. The treatment will be focused on correcting the condition. Your doctor may also recommend avoiding things that trigger heart palpitations, including: