What Causes Palpitation?


Asked by Cecille D.

What Causes Palpitation?

Can you tell me what causes a heart palpitation? Could it be dehydration?


Hello Cecille,

Good question!

Palpitations are the sensation that your heart is not beating regularly: too fast, too hard, or sometimes a pounding up into your neck. It turns out there are many different causes of palpitations, ranging from the not-so-serious to the life-threatening with the majority of causes being relatively benign.

Some examples of non-cardiac causes of palpitations include the ingestion of too much caffeine (contained in coffee, teas, and chocolates). Also, an overactive thyroid gland can cause your heart to feel like it is beating too fast. Anxiety and depression are often overlooked causes of palpitations.

Cardiac causes of palpitations, which includes arrhythmias, valvular disease and cardiomyopathies, are somewhat more concerning causes of palpitations.

If you have palpitations, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your physician so you can figure out the cause of your symptoms. Discussing with your doctor what exactly your palpitations feel like, when they come on, how long they last, and what makes them better or worse will be important to figure out their cause. Tests she is likely to prescribe are blood work (a complete blood count, electrolytes, thyroid stimulating hormone) and an EKG. You may also be asked to wear a home monitor to record your heart beat throughout the day.

Hope this helps!

To your health,

Neil MD

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