What are Heart Palpitations Symptoms of?

Heart palpitations are sensations of rapid, fluttering, or pounding heartbeats. They can be a benign response to certain situations or a sign of an underlying heart condition. Understanding the symptoms associated with heart palpitations is essential for proper evaluation and management.

  • Fluttering or Flip-Flopping Sensation: One of the most common symptoms of heart palpitations is a fluttering feeling or sensation of the heart “skipping a beat.” It can feel like a flip-flopping or rapid thumping sensation in the chest.
  • Pounding or Racing Heart: Palpitations can cause the heart to beat noticeably faster than normal, creating a sensation of a racing heart. This can be concerning and alarming for the individual experiencing it.
  • Awareness of Heartbeat: Individuals with heart palpitations may become acutely aware of their own heartbeat, especially when the palpitations are pronounced or occur frequently.
  • Chest Discomfort or Pain: Palpitations can sometimes be accompanied by chest discomfort or mild pain. This can range from a mild ache to a sharp, stabbing pain.
  • Shortness of Breath: Heart palpitations can lead to a feeling of breathlessness or difficulty catching one’s breath. This symptom is more pronounced if the palpitations are associated with an arrhythmia.
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness: Some individuals may experience dizziness or a lightheaded feeling during or following episodes of heart palpitations. This is especially concerning if it’s accompanied by other symptoms like chest pain.
  • Sweating or Clamminess: Palpitations may cause the person to break into a sweat or feel clammy, especially if they are experiencing anxiety or fear due to the palpitations.
  • Fatigue or Weakness: Frequent heart palpitations can lead to a sense of fatigue or weakness due to the heart working harder or irregularly.
  • Anxiety and Restlessness: The experience of palpitations can often induce feelings of anxiety, nervousness, or restlessness in the affected individual.
  • Neck or Throat Discomfort: Some people may report a sensation of discomfort or pressure in the neck or throat, which could accompany heart palpitations.
  • Fainting or Near-Fainting (Presyncope): In severe cases, heart palpitations can cause a person to nearly faint or faint. This could be due to an underlying arrhythmia or a drop in blood pressure.
  • Symptoms Associated with Underlying Conditions: Depending on the cause of palpitations, individuals might experience symptoms related to the underlying condition, such as symptoms of hyperthyroidism if the palpitations are caused by an overactive thyroid gland.

It’s important to note that while heart palpitations can be unsettling, they are often harmless and may result from stress, anxiety, caffeine consumption, hormonal changes, or certain medications. However, if palpitations are sudden, severe, prolonged, or associated with other concerning symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention.

A thorough evaluation by a healthcare professional may include tests such as an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG), Holter monitor, stress test, or echocardiogram to determine the cause and appropriate management of heart palpitations.