Palpitations describe the sensation of being aware of your heart beating loudly in your chest. Your heart rate may be faster or slower than normal or may skip a beat.
It’s very common and for most people there’s nothing to worry about. There are many everyday causes, such as doing something strenuous, getting anxious or excited, even drinking a lot of caffeine in a short period of time.
Sometimes there doesn’t seem to be any cause and your palpitations quickly pass with no ill effects.
However, for some people, palpitations can be a sign of a heart problem or disease and should be checked out.
Palpitations can feel like some or all of the following:
This will usually pass in a few moments.
If your palpitations are a sign of something more serious, you’ll usually have other symptoms, like feeling breathless or dizzy.
See your doctor if palpitations happen more often, or you’re worried.
They may suggest a test to check your heart rhythm, called an ECG (electrocardiogram).
If symptoms become suddenly worse, or you have chest pains, you should seek urgent medical attention.
Palpitations happen because of a blip in your heart’s natural pacemaker, which sends electrical signals to make your heart beat with a steady rhythm.
Everyday causes of heart palpitations include:
Some medical conditions that cause palpitations are:
Less commonly, they can be a sign of underlying heart conditions, such as:
Usually, palpitations won’t require any treatment. However, if they’re due to a medical condition, then your doctor will recommend appropriate treatments.