My Heart Feels Like It's Racing, It Feels Like It's Literally Flipping Over, I Have The Shakes


Asked by MomX3

My Heart Feels Like It's Racing, It Feels Like It's Literally Flipping Over, I Have The Shakes

I've had these symptoms for awhile now. I don't have a doctor. My husband and I don't have any insurance that is affordable to us. My husband doesn't even know about how I have been feeling. I don't want to burden him with another bill. My heartbeat will beat very fast, like I just ran a sprint. I get the shakes, like you drank a lot of strong coffee on an empty stomach. I feel very sick to my stomach. Sometimes my heart will literally feel like it is flipping over and moving in my chest. It's not a severe sharp pain, but extremly uncomfortable. This comes and goes. I could be laying in bed or just sitting down and it will happen. When I go up and down stairs it's like I did hard labor. I'm only 34, and otherwise in good health. I haven't been to a doctor in years. I have seasonal allergies but that's the only other medical thing I have. I get very light headed and sometimes dizziness, like you are going to pass out. I'm exhausted all the time. If anyone has any ideas, I would greatly appreciate your time and response. Thank you so much in advance.


Hello momx3,

Palpitation are a concerning symptom, and while you do not have health insurance, you very likely need to have these evaluated by a doctor.

Palpitations, like the ones you are experiencing, are caused by abnormal electrical conduction in the heart, leading to an irregular and/or too-fast heart rate. Normally, these nerve-like pathways allow your heart to beat at a regular rate (anywhere from 60-100 beats per minute). However, due to heart disease or genetics (especially if you have a family history of palpitations), these pathways do not keep your heart-rate constant. Even a young person like yourself can have life-threatening palpitations.

Though it seems like these occurrences resolve on their own, part of the concern is that the irregular rhythm will not return to a normal rate. When your heart pumps too fast, it does not allow for adequate filling of the heart with blood and therefore your heart cannot pump enough blood to your vital organs.

Some common and less serious causes of palpitations include too much caffeine, found in coffee, teas, and chocolates. Also, an overactive thyroid gland or anxiety disorders can cause palpitations. There are very rare conditions, an example of which is a pheochromocytoma, that can cause palpitations. However, only a doctor who can order tests for you including an EKG, thyroid stimulating hormone levels (TSH), blood electrolytes, and hemoglobin/hematocrit levels can tell you definitively what is causing your symptoms.

If you can not afford to go to a physician, go to your local emergency room the next time these palpitation start. Even if the symptoms are not present by the time you get to the hospital, the doctors there should be able to evaluate whether the cause of your palpitations is life-threatening or not.

To your health,
Neil, MD