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Are My Heart Palpitations Dangerous to My Health?

Are My Heart Palpitations Dangerous to My Health?

Heart palpitations are common, typically temporary, and not usually dangerous. However, because their causes can range from too much caffeine to a structural problem within the heart, they do require a second look.  

Our team at Premier Cardiology Consultants offers NYC residents comprehensive cardiology care, including diagnosing and treating the underlying causes of heart palpitations.

Read more about heart palpitations, their causes, and when we suggest you come in for an evaluation.

The basics of heart palpitations

Heart palpitations can make it feel like your heart is racing, pounding, or fluttering. You might feel these sensations in your chest, throat, or neck.

Although palpitations are common, they often go unnoticed because they usually last just seconds. They can occur at any time but may be more noticeable when you’re resting or not otherwise distracted.  

Generally, these brief, infrequent glitches in your heart’s rhythm are not considered a health threat. However, in some instances, they can signal a problem in the heart that requires further investigation.  

Causes of heart palpitations

There are many potential causes of heart palpitations, including:

Stress and anxiety

Emotional stress and anxiety can trigger palpitations by stimulating the release of stress hormones like adrenaline.

Caffeine 

Excessive consumption of caffeine can lead to palpitations due to their stimulating effects on your heart.

Physical activity

Intense physical exertion, particularly if you don’t exercise regularly, can cause your heart to beat rapidly, leading to palpitations.

Medications and supplements

Certain medications and supplements, such as decongestants, asthma inhalers, and some herbal remedies, can induce palpitations as a side effect.

Medical conditions

Underlying medical conditions such as thyroid disorders, electrolyte imbalances, anemia, dehydration, and pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung) can also cause palpitations. Hormonal changes related to pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause may also lead to palpitations.

Heart conditions that can cause palpitations

Heart palpitations can be caused by various underlying conditions affecting the heart's electrical system and impacting rhythm or function, which can become life-threatening if left untreated.

These conditions include:

Arrhythmias

Arrhythmias can cause the heart to beat too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or irregularly. Conditions such as atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, or supraventricular tachycardia can lead to dangerous palpitations.

Heart valve disorders

Problems with the heart valves, such as mitral valve prolapse or aortic stenosis, can cause palpitations due to changes in blood flow through your heart.

Heart disease

Heart disease, including coronary artery disease, myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), or cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle), can lead to palpitations and pose a risk of complications.

Structural heart defects

Congenital heart defects or acquired structural abnormalities of the heart can disrupt normal cardiac function and lead to palpitations.

When to seek medical attention

While most palpitations are harmless, our Premier Cardiology Consultants team recommends you seek medical attention if you experience:

Frequent palpitations

We recommend you schedule a consultation if you experience new palpitations that occur more frequently or become more intense or prolonged over time.

Accompanying symptoms

Palpitations accompanied by symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, chest pain, shortness of breath, or fatigue could indicate a more serious underlying issue and should prompt immediate medical attention.

Underlying health conditions

If you have a known heart condition, such as arrhythmias or heart disease, and experience palpitations, consult your healthcare provider to rule out any complications.

In these cases, a cardiac evaluation is crucial for determining the underlying cause of palpitations and developing an appropriate treatment strategy.

Schedule a visit at Premier Cardiology Consultants today by calling the office or requesting an appointment online.

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