Heart palpitations might feel like your heart is fluttering, has skipped a beat, or the beat is off-rhythm. The occasional heart palpitation usually isn’t cause for concern, but there are a myriad of possible reasons you could be experiencing heart palpitations, as well as different indications and causes.
As a seasoned cardiologist, Jeffrey H. Graf, MD, often sees patients who are concerned about heart palpitations, whether they happen on occasion or frequently. At his self-named private practice on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York, you can register for a concierge medicine membership and receive reliable and consistent cardiological care.
This includes diagnostic testing to find out why you experience heart palpitations and whether what’s behind them requires treatment. If you’re wondering about heart palpitations and whether or not they endanger your health, refer to this guide for the basic information you should know.
The most common causes of heart palpitations
Anyone can experience heart palpitations from time to time regardless of age. Even if you have a clean bill of health, you might feel a heart palpitation every so often in your chest or neck. If your palpitations only happen on occasion, they’re more than likely no cause for concern.
Don’t be surprised if the occasional heart palpitation happens because of:
- Stress and anxiety
- Too much caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol
- Hormone fluctuations during pregnancy or menopause
- Stimulant medications
While many of these causes are manageable, being aware of them might make a fluttering heart seem less concerning. Just to confirm that there’s no other underlying issue leading to an irregular heartbeat, Dr. Graf provides comprehensive evaluations.
When heart palpitations mean danger
It’s rare for heart palpitations to indicate danger to your health, but it is possible. If you seem to experience heart palpitations all the time, they’re worth investigating. This is especially true if your palpitations are getting stronger or if they occur alongside other concerning symptoms associated with heart conditions such as chest pain or severe shortness of breath.
The palpitations themselves don’t put your heart in danger, but they can be a signal of certain health conditions that need management so you can avoid possible deadly complications.
One example of a heart condition that can cause frequent heart palpitations is a heart arrhythmia — an irregular heartbeat. This can prevent your heart from properly pumping oxygenated blood throughout your body to the organs and tissues that need it.
The poor blood supply can eventually damage your organs, increasing your risk of severe complications like cardiac arrest and stroke. In addition, you might experience fainting due to unmanaged arrhythmia.
Diagnosing heart palpitations
Dr. Graf performs a comprehensive evaluation to discover the underlying cause of your palpitations and provides treatment if you need it. After reviewing your medical history and examining you, he uses diagnostic procedures to evaluate your heart function, including:
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Cardiac stress testing
- Diagnostic imaging
- Blood tests
Each of these options offers insight into your heart function and the proper flow of blood throughout your body.
To determine what’s causing your palpitations and to find out what you can do to reduce them, schedule a visit by phone or online at Jeffrey H. Graf, MD, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan today.