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Palpitations are feelings that your heart is skipping a beat, fluttering, pounding, or beating too hard or too fast. Palpitations are a symptom of arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm), and are very common and usually harmless, but we know they can be frightening when they happen.
However, some palpitations can be more serious and need to be investigated. We take all of your symptoms seriously at Valley and will investigate rigorously to discover the cause and recommend appropriate treatment if needed.
What Can Cause Palpitations?
There are many possibilities, but here are some of the most common:
- Strong emotions
- Certain physical activities
- Some medicines
- Cocaine or other illegal drugs
- Medical conditions such as thyroid disease, low blood sugar, anemia, and low blood pressure
- Heart disease
How Can You Prevent Palpitations?
- Try to avoid substances and events that can trigger palpitations, such as stress, alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine.
- If you snore, consider getting evaluated for sleep apnea, and follow any treatment course recommended.
- Try stress management techniques like yoga, deep breathing and relaxation exercises, meditation, and tai chi.
- Of course, make sure you’re getting regular exercise, managing your weight, and treating any other medical conditions that might be causing your palpitations.
If those strategies don’t work, make an appointment to visit one of our team at Valley and we can evaluate further.
What if Palpitations are More Serious?
Palpitations may be a sign of a more serious heart problem. You should seek medical attention immediately if you have palpitations and feel dizzy or confused, have trouble breathing, think you may faint, or have pain or tightness in your chest.
At Valley, we will perform a physical exam and possibly other tests, which may include an electrocardiogram (ECG), or use an external or internal monitor to evaluate your heart’s functioning and study its electrical activity.
After we thoroughly evaluate the results of these tests, we can develop a treatment plan that fits your lifestyle and needs.