Listen to your heart – it could be beating out a warning

28 January 2019

Valentine’s Day is approaching and love is in the air - but a heart beating faster than usual might be a sign of much more than just a romantic reaction!

Palpitations – the speeding up or changing of your heart beat – can be caused by a variety of things and the excitement of seeing a loved one can be one of them. But in some cases they can be associated with much more serious conditions.

Dr Arif Ahsan, a consultant cardiologist at Spire Nottingham Hospital in Tollerton, explained: “You may feel your heart pounding or beating irregularly – often for just a few seconds or maybe minutes – or sometimes it seems like your heart missed a beat.

“These symptoms may seem alarming but, the truth is, in most cases they are quite harmless.  However if they are associated with chest pain, breathlessness or dizziness, they can also be a sign of more serious problems involving heart valves or a thickening of the muscles and walls surrounding the heart and  can also indicate an abnormality in the electrical activity of your heart and may be a sign of heart failure.

Dr Ahsan has extensive experience in the assessment and the management of palpitations and heart arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) as well as in general cardiology including possible coronary artery disease valve disease and heart failure.

As part of Heart Awareness Month, which runs throughout February, Dr Ahsan is urging people suffering from any type of irregular heartbeat or fast heart beat associated with other symptoms to get themselves checked out.

He said: “In most cases palpitations are not a cause for alarm, but it is wise to be aware of palpitations and how long they last and how often they occur and how they affect you.

“If they last a long time, occur quite often or are associated with chest pain, breathlessness or dizziness, it is best to get yourself checked out by your GP. If they think there is something amiss then we can carry out ECG (electrocardiogram) monitoring or cardiac ultrasound tests that enable us to make a rapid assessment and diagnosis,” he said.

 “If you are worried about palpitations it’s best that you discuss it with your doctor.  As with so many health problems the quicker you get medical advice the better your treatment outcomes will be,” he added.

Dr Arif Ahsan sees private patients at Spire Nottingham Hospital. A private consultation with him costs £200 if you don't have private health insurance. To book an appointment, call our Private Patient Team on 0115 937 7735.

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