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.
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.
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