When are heart palpitations a cause for concern?
Sometimes, I can feel my heart pumping fast all of a sudden. Why is this so, and when are heart palpitations a cause for concern?
Heart palpitations are heartbeats that you suddenly notice.
Your heart may feel like it's pounding heavily or beating irregularly for a few moments.
Although they may seem worrying, the good news is that they are mostly harmless and are NOT a sign of a serious issue.
If your palpitations only last a few seconds and do not recur frequently, you may not need to see a doctor. This is because any of the following can all cause "harmless" palpitations:
- Certain types of medications
However, if your palpitations:
- occur frequently
- last for longer than a few seconds
- get worse
- are associated with other symptoms such as breathlessness, dizziness, fainting, or chest discomfort
- an overactive thyroid gland
- heart conditions, such as abnormal heart structure and abnormal heart rhythms
To help determine the cause for your palpitations, your doctor may:
- ask about your symptoms, family history and medical history
- perform some blood tests
- carry out an ECG