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Palpitations are feelings that your heart is skipping a beat, fluttering, or beating too hard or too fast. You may have these feelings in your chest, throat, or neck. They can occur during activity or even when you're sitting still or lying down.

Overview​

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Many things can trigger palpitations, including:

  • Strong emotions
  • Vigorous physical activity
  • Medicines such as diet pills and decongestants
  • Caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and illegal drugs
  • Certain medical conditions, such as thyroid disease or anemia

These factors can make the heart beat faster or stronger than usual, or they can cause premature (extra) heartbeats. In these situations, the heart is still working normally. Thus, these palpitations usually are harmless.

Some palpitations are symptoms of arrhythmias. Arrhythmias are problems with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat.

Some arrhythmias are signs of heart conditions, such as heart attack, heart failure, heart valve disease, or heart muscle disease. However, less than half of the people who have palpitations have arrhythmias.

You can take steps to reduce or prevent palpitations. Try to avoid things that trigger them (such as stress and stimulants) and treat related medical conditions.

Outlook

Palpitations are very common. They usually aren't serious or harmful, but they can be bothersome. If you have them, your doctor can decide whether you need treatment or ongoing care.

Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Why The Heart Hospital?

Heart palpitations can be a result of certain triggers, or they may be a sign of a more serious heart issue. If you are experiencing palpitations, talk to your doctor to have them checked out.

The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano provides advanced care for diagnosis, treatment, and management of heart palpitations and other heart arrhythmias. Using advanced technology, our guests receive five-star, patient-centered care from our staff of highly skilled leaders in the electrophysiology​ field.

For a physician referral, call 1.855.857.9048​.

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