ZocdocAnswersWhat could cause my heart to start beating fast and hard and my body to feel shaky?

Question

What could cause my heart to start beating fast and hard and my body to feel shaky?

I was watching TV decided I was hungry got up to make a sandwich and as I was eating my body started feeling shaky and my heart started beating fast and hard. I feel off. what could cause this and what could it be.

Answer

I am sorry you are experiencing these symptoms. I encourage you to discuss this further with your primary care physician to ensure you are not suffering from a serious condition. In general, your heart beats faster during situations in which your organs require additional oxygen. This most commonly occurs during exercise. However, it can also occur due to anxiety, fever, pain, or hypoglycemia. In some circumstances, a rapid heart beat can be caused by an arrhythmia. This is often accompanied by malaise, tremors, chest pain, or lightheadedness. Some common arrhythmias include atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, and atrial tachycardia. You may also be sensing premature atrial of ventricular complexes. These are essentially extra heart beats that originate outside the heart's normal electrical conduction system. Very rarely, arrhythmias can be so rapid that your heart cannot fill between each beat, and this could even lead to sudden death. It is important for you to be evaluated by your doctor to determine if you could be experiencing an arrhythmia. A typical evaluation for someone with a possible arrhythmia consists of a thorough history, physical exam, and EKG. Depending on the results, you may need to undergo an echocardiogram (heart ultrasound), exercise treadmill test, or 24 hour EKG. I recommend you discuss these possibilities with your primary care physician.

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

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.