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A cardiologist holds a stethoscope to check her patient's heart rate and rhythm.

What are heart palpitations?

Heart palpitations are fluttering, pounding, or fast-paced beating sensations in the heart. Although heart palpitations can sometimes be indicative of a heart condition, they are usually harmless.

Heart palpitation symptoms

Heart palpitations can create sensations in your chest, throat, or neck that feel like your heart is:

  • Beating too quickly
  • Flip-flopping
  • Pounding
  • Quickly fluttering
  • Skipping beats

Heart palpitation causes

  • Anxiety and stress
  • Depression
  • Exercise
  • Fever
  • Hormonal imbalances, often caused by menstruation, menopause, or thyroid issues
  • Stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and other drugs

Heart palpitation risk factors

  • High stress levels
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Mood disorders
  • Other heart conditions
  • Pregnancy
  • Taking medications with stimulants

Heart palpitation treatment options

Because heart palpitations are rarely worrisome, they don’t usually need to be treated. If your doctor determines there is another preexisting heart problem causing the palpitations, they will work with you on a treatment plan for that condition.

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