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Heart palpitations

Image of the Heart

Heart palpitations are irregular, hard or rapid heartbeats. This is not considered normal behavior for the heart. This problem is fairly common, and most of the time is harmless, if alarming. Sometimes, however, palpitations can be a sign of serious heart problems.

Symptoms

While some palpitations have no other symptoms than heartbeat irregularities, others may also be accompanied by dizziness, anxiety, shortness of breath and chest pain. It appears that the most common time for heart palpitations to be noticed is when the person is in bed, when they are relaxed and the heart can be felt to either beat irregularly, miss a beat, or add an extra beat. This could have been occurring throughout the day, but normal day to day activity masks the sensation.

Causes

Heart palpitations can be caused by anxiety, arrhythmia, too much caffeine, some medications, drug use, emotional stress, panic, vigorous exercise, overeating and somatization. They can also be triggered by deficiency in the adrenal and nervous systems.

Cautions

palpitations may be a sign of a serious arrhythmia that could be fatal if left untreated. If they feel like a very fast series of heartbeats, last for longer than two or three minutes and are unrelated to strenuous activity, fright or anger, see a medical professional as soon as possible. Seek immediate treatment if palpitations are accompanied by chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath or a feeling of overall weakness.

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