What Causes Heart Palpitations?

Have you been experiencing heart palpitations lately? Your Sugar Land, TX, cardiologist, Dr. Naim Al-Adli of Fort Bend Heart Center, can help you determine if the palpitations are harmless or a sign of a heart problem.

What are heart palpitations?

If you have palpitations, your heart may:

  • Skip a beat
  • Beat harder or faster than usual
  • Flutter
  • Pound

Heart palpitations can be felt in the chest, neck, or throat.

Do palpitations mean I have a problem with my heart?

Although a heart problem is a possible cause of palpitations, it can also occur if your heart is perfectly healthy. Palpitations can be caused by:

  • Stress: You may be more likely to experience palpitations if you've been feeling stressed, anxious, or worried. Palpitations can also accompany panic attacks.
  • Overindulging in Your Favorite Foods or Drinks: Palpitations can happen if you've been eating a lot of chocolate or drinking alcohol or beverages that contain caffeine. The nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco products could be to blame for the fluttering or missed heartbeats.
  • Hormones: Palpitations can also be related to hormonal changes in women common during pregnancy, menstruation, and perimenopause.
  • Low Blood Sugar: Low blood sugar could trigger palpitations, as could low potassium.
  • Medications: Prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, herbal preparations or supplements could cause palpitations. If you use illegal drugs, you may also notice palpitations.
  • Health Conditions: Palpitations are more common if you have certain health conditions, including anemia, low blood pressure, and thyroid disease. They may also happen if you're sick, dehydrated, or have a fever.
  • Diet: Palpitations could be related to food sensitivities, eating heavy meals, or consuming foods high in sodium or nitrates.
  • Exercising: You may notice a few palpitations during or after a strenuous workout.
  • Heart Conditions: Palpitations can be caused by heart failure, coronary artery disease, issues with the valves in your heart, or scar tissue from a previous heart attack.

When should I see the cardiologist?

Since it's not always easy to figure out why you have palpitations, it's a good idea to visit your Sugar Land heart doctor if your heart has been missing beats, beating rapidly, fluttering, or pounding. He'll perform an electrocardiogram (ECG) and may suggest a few other heart tests, such as a Holter monitor. The monitor records your heart rhythm over a 24-hour period. Depending on the results of the tests, your cardiologist can recommend strategies or treatments that will help reduce palpitations.

Are you concerned about heart palpitations? Call your cardiologist in Sugar Land, TX, Dr. Naim Al-Adli, at (281) 265-8500 to schedule your appointment.

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