Should I Worry About Heart Palpitations?

Your heart beats an average of 100,000 times each day. You’re not aware of it most of the time, but heart palpitations can suddenly call your attention to your chest.

Heart palpitations are unusual or irregular heartbeats. Palpitations can feel like your heart is racing, fluttering, or that it skipped a beat. When they happen, it’s normal to be concerned about your heart health — but most of the time, palpitations aren’t a cause for worry.

Kunal Patel, MD and our team at NJ Cardiovascular Institute want to share what we know about heart palpitations and what causes them. If you experience these unusual changes in heart rhythm, it’s time to learn more.

Identifying heart palpitations

Your heart pumps blood throughout your body constantly. When it follows a regular rhythm, you may not be aware of it. When something disrupts your heart’s rhythm, palpitations occur.

Different people feel heart palpitations differently. The sensations can even vary between individual episodes, but some of the most common sensations include:

You may feel palpitations in your chest, throat, or neck. It’s very common to become suddenly aware of your heart and your heartbeat when you experience palpitations.

Possible causes of heart palpitations

Most heart palpitations aren’t caused by heart problems, and they may be linked to external factors.

Some of the most common causes of palpitations include:

In rare cases, heart palpitations could indicate underlying heart issues like arrhythmias or heart disease.

When to make an appointment for heart palpitations

Many people experience heart palpitations from time to time. They’re not unusual, and they’re not always a sign of a more serious heart condition. However, if you have heart palpitations regularly or you’re concerned about your heart health, a visit to see Dr. Patel could ease your mind.

Heart palpitations are typically brief occurrences, and chances are high that the symptoms will be gone by the time your appointment comes around. If you’re seeking medical care for heart palpitations, consider keeping notes about each occurance to help us in your diagnosis.

We often use ambulatory arrhythmia monitoring to diagnose palpitations. This diagnostic test involves wearing a heart monitor that records your heart activity for a period of time. The results help us identify possible causes of palpitations.

Seek immediate medical care if your palpitations are accompanied by other symptoms, like loss of consciousness, pain, or difficulty breathing. You should always have your heart examined if you notice heart palpitations and you have a preexisting heart condition, such as congestive heart failure, or risk factors for heart disease.

If you still have questions about palpitations and heart health, we're here to help. Call the NJ Cardiovascular Institute office nearest you — in Newark, Paramus, or Secaucus, New Jersey — or request a consultation online to get started.

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