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Palpitation is a sensation that the heart is racing, pounding, fluttering, or skipping a beat or adding an extra beat, often bothersome, but not necessarily considered as  a sign of heart disease.

You may become overly aware of your heartbeat. This sensation can also be felt in your neck, throat, or chest. It’s also possible that your heart rhythm can change during the palpitations.

Most heart palpitations are harmless and resolve on their own without treatment. But in rare cases, heart palpitations can indicate a serious condition. Therefore, it is recommended to talk to your doctor if you continue to have palpitations.

Palpitations Treatment Doctor Heart and Vascular Consultants in Detroit and Livonia Michigan

Diagnosis and Tests

Causes of heart palpitations can be very difficult to diagnose, especially if the palpitations don’t occur while you’re in your doctor’s office.

Your doctor will conduct a thorough physical exam to identify the actual cause or cases.


Your doctor may ask you about:

  • Physical activities

  • Stress levels

  • Prescription medication use

  • OTC medication and supplement use

  • Health conditions

The following tests might be requested by your cardiologist to identify any certain diseases or heart problems causing your heart palpitations:

  • Blood tests

  • Urine tests

  • Stress test

  • Recording of the heart’s rhythm for 24 hours using a machine called a Holter monitor

  • Ultrasound of the heart, or an echocardiogram

  • Electrocardiogram

  • Chest X-ray

  • Electrophysiology study to check your heart’s electrical function

  • Coronary angiography to check how blood flows through your heart

When to seek immediate medical attentions or see a doctor


It is highly recommended to seek immediate medical attention if you have heart palpitations and a diagnosed heart problem.

It is also recommended to see your doctor if you have palpitations that occur with other symptoms such as:

  • Dizziness

  • Weakness

  • Lightheadedness

  • Fainting

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Confusion

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Excessive sweating

  • Pain, pressure, or tightening in your chest

  • Pain in your arms, neck, chest, jaw, or upper back

  • Resting pulse rate of more than 100 beats per minute

These could be symptoms of a more serious condition.



Possible causes of heart palpitations may include:

  • Alcohol

  • Strenuous exercise

  • Caffeine

  • Nicotine from tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigars

  • Stress

  • Anxiety

  • Fear

  • Panic

  • Dehydration

  • Hormonal level changes, including pregnancy

  • Electrolyte abnormalities

  • Hypoglycemia (Low blood sugar)

  • Anemia

  • Overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism

  • Low levels of oxygen or carbon dioxide in the blood

  • Blood loss

  • Shock

  • Fever

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medications, including cold and cough medications, herbal supplements, and nutritional supplements

  • Prescription medications, including beta-blockers, asthma inhalers, and decongestants

  • Illegal drugs, such as amphetamines and cocaine

  • Heart disease

  • Arrhythmia, or an irregular heart rhythm

  • Abnormal heart valves


Although that a heart palpitation usually is harmless, yet, if it is combined with any of the following, it may be a sign of a heart illness:

  • Arrhythmia

  • Diagnosed heart disease

  • Heart disease risk factors

  • Defective heart valve


Risk Factors


The following factors may put you at a higher risk of developing palpitations:

  • Highly stressed

  • An anxiety disorder or have regular emotional or panic attacks

  • Pregnancy

  • Medicines that contain stimulants, such as some cold or asthma medications

  • An overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism)

  • Other heart problems, such as an arrhythmia, heart defect, previous heart attack or previous heart surgery



If your heart palpitations are caused by a heart problem, possible complications may include:

  • Fainting, if your heart beats rapidly, your blood pressure can drop, causing you to faint. This would be most likely if you have a heart problem, such as congenital heart disease or certain valve problems.

  • Cardiac arrest, in very rare cases, palpitations can be caused by life-threatening arrhythmias and can cause your heart to stop beating effectively.

  • Stroke, in case of that palpitations are due to a heart problem in which the upper chambers of the heart quiver instead of beating properly (atrial fibrillation), blood can pool and cause clots to form. If a clot breaks loose, it can block a brain artery, causing a stroke.

  • Heart failure, this can result if your heart is pumping ineffectively for a prolonged period of time due to an arrhythmia, such as atrial fibrillation. In some cases, controlling the rate of an arrhythmia that's causing heart failure can improve your heart's function.


If your heart palpitations are not caused by any heart problem, there's less risk of complications.

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