Most Heart Palpitations Harmless — When heartbeats become more noticeable they are called heart palpitations and can feel as though the heart has skipped a beat. Palpitations can also feel like the heart is pounding, fluttering, or beating irregularly.
Medical News Today says a person may experience these sensations in the throat or the neck and they can last for a few seconds or several minutes. Often they can cause alarm especially when experienced for the first time. The good news is they are usually nothing to worry about.
“Heart palpitations” is a catchall term used to describe anything unusual that people feel in the rhythms of their hearts. And pretty much everyone has them at some point, said Gregory Marcus, a cardiac electro physiologist at the University of California at San Francisco.
But palpitations vary in what causes them and how serious they are — ranging from benign to a sign of a serious problem. And even though they are exceedingly common, medical knowledge about heart rhythm abnormalities, called “arrhythmias,” lags behind the understanding of other heart problems such as arterial blockages and congestive heart failure.
So what causes a heart skipping a beat? Here’s our breakdown for the condition:
Vigorous exercise and not getting sufficient sleep or perhaps too much caffeine or alcohol in your diet can all lead to heart palpitations. And smoking or drug abuse or eating rich foods can also cause the heart to skip a beat.
Psychological or emotional triggers
Palpitations can be caused by stress or anxiety and also occur during a panic attack; you may feel nausea, weak or dizzy and numbness in the extremities as well as chest pain or tightness, trembling and shortness of breath.
A number of prescription drugs can also set off heart palpitations. Any number of drugs such as asthma inhalers, salbutamol and ipratropium bromide
medications for high blood pressure, antihistamines, such as terfenadine; antibiotics, like clarithromycin and erythromycin and antifungal medicines such as itraconazole. If you have frequent heart palpitations and are taking medication, check the list of possible side effects on the label and consult with your BIMC doctor.
Arrhythmias are a group of health conditions that can interfere with the heart’s rhythm. Millions of people have arrhythmias and they are especially common as people get older. Most are harmless, but some require medical attention.
In some cases, palpitations can indicate problems with the heart. Examples include: A mitral valve prolapse, which causes blood to flow inefficiently through the heart and heart failure, which happens when the heart is unable to pump blood effectively. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, refers to an enlargement of the heart muscle and its walls or congenital heart disease, which refers to abnormalities that are present from birth.
There is a good chance that palpitations are nothing to worry about, Marcus said, especially if you are younger than 65, with no family history or past experiences of passing out. But if you’re worried, make an appointment with us today.