Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What do heart spasms feel like? "
I'm a young male with no history of heart problems, though there is a family history of heart disease. For the last year or so I notice a spasming - convulsing feeling in my chest that hits every few days. It never lasts longer than 15 seconds, but it's absolutely terrifying. Is this dangerous?
This sounds like a distressing feeling. What you may be describing is what we call palpitations. These are feelings like your heart raising. While a convulsing feeling is not the typical description, palpitations have been described as a pounding or a feeling like your heart is going to jump out of your chest. If this is an accurate description of your symptoms, then you need to be evaluated for a possible heart issue. There are a few different conditions that can cause palpitations. A common condition in young people that can cause palpitations is a valve abnormality called mitral prolapse. While most of the time it causes not problems, occasionally it can result in abnormal heart function. Another possibility is a heart arrhythmia. This is when the heart abnormally beats at a rate that is too fast. These possible problems are best looked at by a cardiologist. This type of doctor will be able to take a more detailed history of your symptoms and perform a thorough cardiovascular exam. Depending on what that doctor thinks, you may warrant additional testing with an electrocardiogram or a more long term monitor known as a Holter monitor. This way your heart function can be looked at closely while you are experiencing an episode.
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