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Heart Palpitations: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Mar 4, 2024

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Causes Of Heart Palpitations

Symptoms Of Heart Palpitations

Risk Factors Of Heart Palpitations

Diagnosis Of Heart Palpitations

Treatment Of Heart Palpitations

Complications Of Heart Palpitations

Heart Palpitations

Palpitations are the sense of a pounding, racing, or fluttering heart. These can occasionally be brought on by a medical condition, stress, activity, or medicine.

Although they can be unnerving, heart palpitations are typically not dangerous. In rare cases, palpitations may indicate a more serious cardiac disorder that needs to be treated, such as an arrhythmia.

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Causes Of Heart Palpitations

A heart palpitation's cause is frequently unknown. Common causes consist of:

  • Severe emotional responses, including stress, terror, or panic attacks
  • Depressive States
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Stimulants such as amphetamine-containing cold and cough medicines, cocaine, nicotine, caffeine, and amphetamines
  • Elevated body temperature hormonal shifts produced by menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause
  • Excessive or insufficient thyroid hormone
  • Occasionally, palpitations in the heart could be a sign of a serious problem, like an arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat.
  • An abnormally slow heartbeat (bradycardia), deviant from the normal cardiac rhythm (tachycardia), or a combination of the three can be the outcome of an arrhythmia.

Also Read: What is Myocardial Infarction ? - NEET PG Medicine

Symptoms Of Heart Palpitations

The following are possible symptoms of heart palpitations:

  • Beating too quickly
  • Shifting between quiet, hammering, and fast twitching beats
  • Apart from the chest, palpitations can also happen in the neck or throat. They could appear when you're resting or when you're working hard.

Also Read: Infective Endocarditis - NEET PG Medicine

Risk Factors Of Heart Palpitations

Heart palpitations can be caused by the following risk factors:

  • Stress, anxiety disorders, or panic attacks
  • Having a pregnancy
  • Certain medications for colds or asthma that contain stimulants hyperthyroidism, the overactivity of the thyroid gland
  • Other heart problems include irregular heartbeats, structural changes to the heart, previous heart attacks, or previous heart surgery.

Also Read: Thrombolysis in Acute Ischemic Stroke- NEET PG Medicine

Diagnosis Of Heart Palpitations

To identify palpitations, a doctor will perform a physical examination on you and listen to your heart with a stethoscope. It could be important to search for signs of diseases like enlarged thyroid glands that could cause heart palpitations during the examination. 

If your physician thinks that palpitations are caused by an irregular heartbeat or another cardiac issue, they may conduct the following tests:

  • A cardiogram, also called an ECG or EKG on occasion: Electrodes, or sticky patches, are applied to the arms, legs, and chest. An ECG can reveal whether the heart is beating too quickly, too slowly, or not at all.
  • Holter's finding: This portable device is designed to record the heart's rhythm and rate while worn for a full day or longer. It is used to find cardiac palpitations that a standard evaluation might miss. One of the personal gadgets that may be watched from a distance is the smartwatch. 
  • Event recorder: If you don't have irregular heartbeats when using a Holter monitor or if the events don't occur more frequently than once a week, your doctor might recommend an event recorder. At the onset of symptoms, a button is pressed. An event recorder is typically worn until symptoms or an arrhythmia appear, which can last up to 30 days.
  • Echocardiography: This non-invasive test creates animated pictures of the beating heart by using sound waves. It can be a sign of problems with the structure and blood flow of the heart.

Also Read: Epilepsy: Symptoms and Causes

Treatment Of Heart Palpitations

Medical intervention is rarely necessary for heart palpitations unless they are caused by a cardiac condition. As an alternative, a healthcare provider could suggest avoiding the triggers for palpitations.

When treating palpitations brought on by a heart condition, such as an arrhythmia, the main focus will be on treating the underlying issue.

Also Read: What is Pneumonia?

Complications Of Heart Palpitations

Possible issues with heart disease-related palpitations include:

  • Losing consciousness: If a quick heartbeat causes a person's blood pressure to decrease, they may faint. This is more common in those with heart disorders, such as congenital heart disease or certain valve problems.
  • Cardiac arrest: Palpitations can occasionally be caused by potentially lethal irregular heartbeats, in which case the heart may completely stop pumping.
  • Stroke: Blood may pool and clot if atrial fibrillation—a condition in which the heart's upper chambers tremble instead of beating normally—is the cause of the palpitations. A dislodged clot can obstruct a brain artery, which can lead to a stroke.
  • Cardiac failure: Less blood can be pumped by the heart during an arrhythmia. Sometimes lowering the rate of an arrhythmia that is leading to heart failure can improve the heart's functioning.

Also Read: Guillain Barre Syndrome

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