If you’ve ever experienced heart palpitations — the feeling that your heart is beating too fast, fluttering, or skipping a beat — you have probably wondered what causes them and if they are harmful. In most cases, heart palpitations are not serious and will go away on their own.
If you experience heart palpitations a few times a day or have noticed heart palpitations for the first time, you should see a healthcare provider to determine if they are the symptom of an underlying medical condition.
What Causes Heart Palpitations?
Heart palpitations have several causes, including:
- Anxiety or stress
- Low levels of oxygen in the blood
- Diseases of the coronary arteries, heart muscles or valves
- Changes in hormones
- Overactive thyroid
- Certain medications, including asthma drugs, beta blockers, and thyroid pills
Complications of Heart Palpitations
Heart palpitations that are caused by a heart condition can lead to several complications, including:
- Cardiac arrest — In rare cases, heart palpitations are caused by life-threatening arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms) that prohibit the heart from beating properly.
- Stroke — Some heart palpitations happen as a result of atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation can cause blood clots that could block an artery in the brain and lead to a stroke.
- Heart failure — If your heart is pumping blood inefficiently, it can cause heart palpitations that may lead to heart failure if not properly managed.
Heart Palpitation Treatment
According to Mayo Clinic, “Unless your doctor finds that you have a heart condition, heart palpitations seldom require treatment. Instead, your doctor may recommend ways for you to avoid the triggers that cause your palpitations.”
Some things that are known to trigger heart palpitations include stress, stimulants, and illegal drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine.
The only way to be sure your heart palpitations are harmless is to see a medical professional for an evaluation. FastMed Urgent Care is open seven days a week and never requires an appointment.
Along with being knowledgeable and compassionate, FastMed healthcare professionals are committed to providing quality healthcare to individuals and families promptly. Find a FastMed in your area today! We accept most major insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid.
Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-palpitations/basics/causes