ZocdocAnswersWhy does my heart seem to beat faster at times?

Question

Why does my heart seem to beat faster at times?

Sometimes it seems as though my heart beats faster, as though it is trying to catch up. It happens when I'm sitting still and relaxing, and I've never noticed it happening during strenuous physical activity. Is it possible that my heart has skipped a beat and is trying to ""catch up"" with my body's need, and is this something I should worry about even though it does not happen regularly?

Answer

I would recommend that you see your primary care doctor. There are many causes of abnormal heart beats, some of which are normal and some which require medical attention. If there is a concern, your doctor could send you to a heart specialist (a cardiologist). Heart beats normally occur in a regular fashion between 60 to 100 times a minute. Irregular heart beats or palpitations can take many forms. There are some normal extra heart beats. Occasionally either the top part of the heart (the atria) or the bottom part (the ventricles) can have an extra beat that people feel and is of no harm. If they are bothersome they can be treated with medication. Unfortuantely, there are some abnormal extra beats. These can originate from either the top or bottom of the heart. The most common cause to worry about is atrial fibrillation, where the top of the heart beats very irregularly. This should be addressed as it can lead to strokes if not treated. Talk to your doctor. He or she can hook you up to a monitor (called an EKG) to record your heart activity. If these events are rare, they can send you a home monitor (named a Holter). Good luck!

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

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