Heart palpitations are the feelings of rapid or pounding heart.
Heart palpitations are usually harmless, although one may worry. In rare cases, heart palpitations can show a more serious heart condition, which is arrhythmia.
The symptoms of heart palpitations are:
- Skipping beats
- Fast heartbeat
- Pumping harder than usual
The heart palpitations can be felt in the throat, neck, or the chest. They can occur in any situation, while being active or at rest, standing, seated or lying down.
Heart palpitations can be caused by stress, exercise, medication or a medical condition. In some cases, the cause can't be found. Common known causes of heart palpitations are:
- Strong emotions
- Intensive physical exercise
- Medical conditions (hyperthyroid, low blood sugar, anemia, fever, low blood pressure, dehydration)
- Caffeine, nicotine, illegal drugs
- Hormonal changes (during menstruation, pregnancy or menopause)
- Medicine (for asthma, arrhythmia, cough, cold) and stimulants.
People at risk of heart palpitations are those who:
- Have anxiety or panic attacks
- are highly stressed
- Take certain medicines or stimulants
- Have certain medical conditions, such as overactive thyroid
- Have certain heart problems (arrhythmia, heart attack, heart failure, heart valve disease or heart muscle disease)
As hormonal changes in one of the causes of heart palpitations, pregnant, menstruating, or perimenopausal women may be at higher risk for palpitations.
Complications of heart palpitations are rare. Complications can arise when the cause is a heart condition. These can include:
- Fainting – as heart palpitation complication, it usually occurs as e result of congenital heart disease or valve problems
- Heart failure, due to arrhythmia
- Stroke is possible if blood clots are formed due to improper heart beating, which can break lose and block a brain artery
- Cardiac arrest is a possible complication in case of life-threatening arrhythmias which can cause your heart to stop beating effectively.