ZocdocAnswersWhy do I keep having heart palpitations?

Question

Why do I keep having heart palpitations?

I've had a ton of heart palpitations lately. They don't seem to have a cause and come at different times of day. This is just weird to me because there hasn't been any heart trouble with me before. Am I just stressed? What could be making this happen?

Answer

Heart palpitations can be caused by many different types of conditions. The likely possibilities depend on many different factors including your age, sex, and your past medical history. If you are young, most cases of heart palpitation are caused by either panic disorder or an arrhythmia. Panic disorder is a condition where panic attacks come on for no apparent reason. They can be very severe and have a negative effect on quality of life. Panic attacks are episodes of extreme distress with hyperventilation and feelings of your heart pounding. People feel as if they are trapped. An arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rate that is either too fast or too slow (rates that are too fast cause palpitations). There are many different types, but all of them should be evaluated by a physician. Other conditions such as thyroid gland disorders are possible in people that have palpitations. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can listen to a description of your symptoms and perform a detailed physical exam. Your doctor will also want to get an electrocardiogram. The electrocardiogram in certain cases can diagnose the reason why your are having palpitations. If it does turn out to be an arrhythmia, then you would benefit from a referral to see a cardiologist.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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