Heart palpitations can be an alarming and unpleasant feeling, often described as an increased awareness of the heart beating, or the feeling of the heart beating in an unusual way. This kind of irregular beating, pounding or even fluttering can last from just a few seconds up to a few minutes, perhaps coming in waves.
Despite many people having experienced palpitations, there is a lot of uncertainty about what they are and what causes them.
What are palpitations?
Often, palpitations occur due to issues related to your heart, such as increased exercise and the resultant activity of your heart. However, there are several non-heart-related causes of palpitations too, such as insufficient sleep, stress, caffeine or alcohol.
In fact, many people experience the feeling of heart palpitations after a heavy night of drinking, which can be felt in the throat and the neck. Whilst these palpitations may feel alarming, they are generally harmless in most cases and not a sign of a serious problem or condition.
One of the best ways to avoid getting palpitations is to address the triggers that cause them, such as alcohol consumption, lack of sleep and stress.
Having said this, being aware of your heart’s health and its condition is important and if you notice any unusual activity in your heart, it would be worthwhile to have a check-up with a cardiologist.
If the palpitations last for a long time, worsen over time, or if you have a history of heart problems, it’s also advised that you speak to a cardiologist, particularly when experiencing palpitations.
If you’re looking for a private cardiologist in Northwest England, get in touch with us at Venturi Cardiology and we may be able to help you determine if your palpitations are caused by anything serious.
Causes of palpitations
- Stress, anxiety, fear or other strong emotions
- Strenuous physical activity
- Large amounts of caffeine from tea, coffee or other substances
- Certain drugs and stimulants
- Certain medical conditions such as low blood pressure or anemia
- Hormonal changes
What do palpitations feel like?
People describe palpitations in different ways. Some will feel a thudding motion in the chest, while others will experience a slight flutter. If you have chest pain, shortness of breath or even dizziness, in addition to the palpations, it’s important that you get this checked out.
The most common causes of heart palpitations are extra beats. Most people will experience this with no additional or concerning symptoms..
Treatment for palpitations
Palpitations usually don’t need any treatment at all. The main method of symptom mitigation is to try and identify the triggers for your palpitations and change your behaviour.
They can be alleviated by simple lifestyle changes or by getting more exercise. However, if there is an underlying condition causing the palpitations, this should be treated directly.
Additionally, if the palpitations occur when you are stressed, you may well benefit from certain stretching and breathing exercises, which may help to calm you down and reduce the palpitations.
Get in touch
Having palpitations can be quite an unpleasant feeling, especially if it’s a completely new experience for you. However, they usually aren’t serious or harmful and will often go away on their own. For many people, certain activities and calming techniques will help alleviate the stress caused by palpitations.
If you have a pre-existing heart condition or are concerned about your palpitations, it can be helpful to consult a heart specialist who can perform an ECG as well as assess your overall risk factors for heart disease. This will give you an overview of your heart health and assess whether your palpitations or other symptoms are a cause for concern. If you are looking for a private ECG in Northwest England, or a private cardiologist to discuss your palpitations or other heart related issues with, get in touch with us at Venturi cardiology.