Although palpitations are usually a temporary heart flutter that’s safe to ignore, they can indicate an underlying medical concern that requires attention. The team at Premier Cardiology Consultants explains the causes of heart palpitations and what they might mean about your cardiac health.
People often describe palpitations as skipped beats or the sensation that your heart is racing, pounding, or flip-flopping. Because you don’t usually feel your heart beating, the fluttery feeling in your chest captures your attention. Fortunately, most heart palpitations are temporary glitches that fade as your heart reverts to a regular rate and rhythm, usually within seconds.
A healthy heart resembles an efficient machine with a complex structure of blood vessels, valves, and chambers that move about 83 gallons of oxygenated blood every hour to the rest of your body. This requires your heart to beat about 72 times a minute, 24 hours a day.
Your heartbeat is the pace at which the muscles of the heart and arteries contract and relax. The arteries relax and fill with blood when the heart muscle contracts (beats); when the heart relaxes between beats, the arteries contract and push the blood to its next destination.
Your heart may beat faster or slower according to your body’s demands. For instance, when you’re physically active, your heart speeds up temporarily to ensure adequate blood flow to your muscles, lungs, and other organs. Conversely, when you rest, your heart slows down.
The heart can typically handle occasional palpitations that last for a moment, which you may not even feel. However, prolonged or frequent palpitations can disrupt the smooth flow of blood through the heart. Over time, this can damage the heart muscle, leading to a heart attack, heart failure, and other life-threatening conditions.
Although most palpitations aren’t concerning, an increase or change could indicate significant illness or life-threatening arrhythmia.
Thus, at Premier Cardiology Consultants, we recommend you come in for a visit whenever you develop new or more frequent palpitations, especially if you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease.
Also, seek immediate care if your palpitations are accompanied by:
Call 911 immediately if you develop these symptoms, which can signal a heart attack.
Numerous issues can cause heart palpitations, including:
Heart failure and other cardiac diseases can also cause palpitations. You may also experience palpitations due to a life-threatening arrhythmia caused by problems with the electrical system within your heart, which controls the pace and rhythm of your heartbeat.
Treatment at Premier Cardiology Consultants begins with a physical exam, a detailed discussion of your symptoms, and sometimes further diagnostic studies to rule out concerning medical issues.
Based on the results of your evaluation, your specialist may recommend medication, lifestyle changes, or other treatment to restore a normal heart rate and rhythm.
Schedule a visit at Premier Cardiology Consultants today by calling the nearest office. You can also request more information about our practice through our secure online service.