Palpitations (pal-pih-TAY-shuns), or heart
palpitations, are rapid or irregular heartbeats that make you feel like your heart
is racing or fluttering.
More to Know
Lots of things can cause the heart to beat quickly, including exercise, stress,
fever, caffeine, nicotine, illegal drugs,
thyroid disorders, and certain medications. This can trigger palpitations, which are
fluttering heartbeats — the feeling that the heart has skipped a beat or is
beating irregularly. In most cases, these types of palpitations are harmless.
Sometimes, palpitations are due to an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
and may be a sign of a serious medical condition. Arrhythmias can be caused by heart
disease, genetic factors, chemical imbalances in the blood, infections, medications,
and injuries to the heart.
Frequent palpitations or palpitations along with fainting, chest pain, sweating,
or shortness of breath might indicate an arrhythmia that should be diagnosed by a
Keep in Mind
Most palpitations won't require any treatment. If an arrhythmia is causing the
palpitations, treating its cause usually will stop the palpitations. Palpitations
occurring repeatedly or with other associated symptoms should be evaluated by a doctor.
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