WHAT CAUSES HEART PALPITATIONS?

Heart palpitation symptoms may include:

  • Rapid heartbeats
  • Fluttering heartbeats
  • Skipped heartbeats
  • Heartbeats that feel like they are pumping harder than normal

You might feel palpitations in your chest, throat or neck. They can occur while you’re at rest, exercising or going about your normal routine.

Heart palpitations can be due to:

  • Emotional responses such as anxiety, stress, panic or fear
  • Exercise
  • Fever
  • Hormone changes associated with pregnancy, menstruation or menopause
  • Certain medical conditions
  • Certain over-the-counter and prescription drugs
  • Caffeine and nicotine use
  • Diet pills
  • Illegal street drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines (speed)

Risk factors

  • Stress, anxiety or panic attacks
  • Medications that contain stimulants, like some cold or asthma drugs
  • Pregnancy
  • Overactive thyroid gland
  • Other heart issues

References

  1. Mayou R. Chest pain, palpitations and panic. J Psychosom Res 1998;44:53-70.
  2. Kroenke K, Arringon ME, Mangelsdroff AD. The prevalence of symptoms in medical outpatients and the adequacy of therapy. Arch Intern Med 1990;150:1685-9.
  3. Knudson MP. The natural history of palpitations in a family practice. J Fam Pract 1987;24:357-60.