Palpitations refer to an awareness of the heartbeat, and may feel like a fluttering, pounding, or racing heartbeat. While occasional palpitations are usually not serious and may be triggered by stress, exercise, or caffeine, persistent palpitations can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.
Common causes of palpitations include:
- Arrhythmias: irregularities in the heart’s rhythm, such as atrial fibrillation, supraventricular tachycardia, etc.
- Thyroid disorders: overactive or underactive thyroid can cause palpitations.
- Medications: certain medications, such as decongestants, antidepressants, etc. can cause palpitations as a side effect.
- Stress and anxiety: stress and anxiety can trigger palpitations in some people.
- Caffeine and stimulant use: caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants can cause palpitations.
- Other medical conditions: heart disease, anemia, etc. can cause palpitations.
It is important to seek medical attention if palpitations are persistent or accompanied by other symptoms such as chest pain, fainting, or difficulty breathing. A doctor may perform tests such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) or blood tests to determine the underlying cause of the palpitations and provide appropriate treatment.