We have all heard about lovers who see each other for the first time and their hearts “skip a beat.” We are not talking about those kinds of heart palpitations. We are talking about palpitations that could be related to a physical heart issue, or maybe they are just a simple glitch. So, when feeling heart palpitations, should you be concerned?
How Do Heart Palpitations Feel?
Your heart beats 60 to 100 times per minute. There is a rhythm to the beats that move your blood in and out of your heart and through your body.
Heart palpitations are commonly described as a racing heart, fluttering rapidly, beating too fast, pounding, flip flopping, or skipping a beat. You can feel this in your chest, throat, or neck. Many times these feelings only last a second or two and happen infrequently.
Most of the time these feelings or heart palpitations are harmless and they just go away. However, sometimes they don’t. Knowing the difference and when to be concerned is important.
When NOT To Worry About Palpitations
Your heart rhythm can change for a number of reasons. Most of them are short term and nothing to be concerned about.
Some examples include the following:
- Emotions like anxiety, fear, stress, and panic can cause palpitations
- Caffeine from coffee and soft drinks
- Some medications like asthma inhalers
- Weight loss or diet pills
- Illegal drugs like cocaine and amphetamines
- Nicotine from cigarettes or vaping
- Some over-the-counter medications
Although some of these causes are not the result of a serious medical condition, cigarettes and illegal drugs can still be bad for your heart and increase the risks for a heart attack.
More Concerning Palpitations
Arrhythmia is a palpitation caused by more serious medical conditions that affect the heart. This type of palpitation needs to be evaluated by a specialist like New Jersey Cardiology Associates. With arrhythmia, the heart beats too fast, too slow, or irregularly.
These conditions can include low blood sugar, thyroid disease, abnormal levels of potassium, anemia, low blood pressure, and low levels of oxygen in your blood.
Watch out for more frequent palpitations like 6 per minute or in groups of 3. Let your doctor know if you are having new or different palpitations, if your pulse is higher than 100 without exercise, and especially if you have risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.
When To Be Concerned
Seek immediate medical care if you have any of the following symptoms with heart palpitations:
- Chest pain or tightness
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive sweating
- Feeling faint or dizzy
- Loss of consciousness
In most cases heart palpitations should not be a concern unless the above symptoms accompany this irregular heart beat.
Be aware of stimulants like caffeine and try to reduce the amount you drink. You can help to control these “glitches” by avoiding your own triggers.