Be Still My Heart: Is it Palpitations or Atrial Fibrillation that Makes Your Heart Skip a Beat?

Most adults have felt it a time or two: that thump or fluttering sensation in the chest. This may occur while engaging in some physical activity, like working out or working in the yard. Arrhythmias may also occur for seemingly no good reason at all. In many cases, this sensation may be normal. However, it is important to be able to differentiate between the “average” palpitation and a potentially serious problem. Here’s what we want you do know...

Heart palpitations are perceived as a normal event when the body or mind is experiencing some stress. Because a lot of us carry unmanaged stress around like it’s necessary, palpitations can send the heart fluttering at any moment, without a moment’s notice. Atrial fibrillation, aka AFib, is different. This event occurs as a result if a misfire of electrical signals to the heart. When this misfire occurs, the upper chambers of the heartbeat too quickly and at an abnormal pace. Blood then pools in these upper chambers rather than moving on to the lower chambers as it should.

What makes discernment difficult is that benign palpitations mimic the symptoms of AFib. In fact, palpitations, or a racing heart, is a prime symptom of atrial fibrillation. So how might you be able to notice the difference? A few details to look for include:

The Bottom Line

Heart health is an important aspect of general healthcare. If you frequently experience heart palpitations, there is no reason not to see your doctor. For friendly service from an experienced team, call Premier Cardiology Consultants in Forest Hills, Richmond Hill, or Lake Success.

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