Your heart feels like it skips a few beats when you’re scared, or it races after your second cup of coffee. These are examples of perfectly normal and harmless heart palpitations.
If you experience ongoing heart palpitations, however, and you can’t pin down the cause, it might be time to investigate since heart palpitations can also signal a more serious health issue.
As a practice devoted to heart health, Dr. James Kim and our team see our fair share of people who are experiencing heart palpitations. In fact, nationwide, heart palpitations are the second leading driver of visits to a cardiologist.
Of course, our hope is that your heart palpitations are harmless, but we want to review three serious heart-related conditions that include heart palpitations among their symptoms.
A word about heart palpitations
As a symptom, heart palpitations crop up everywhere, from your cardiovascular health to your mental health. In short, heart palpitations are sensations that your heart is:
You can feel this in your chest, and you may also feel the sensations in your throat and neck.
When it comes to reasons unrelated to your heart, everything from panic attacks and too much caffeine to thyroid disorders and pregnancy can lead to heart palpitations.
Heart-related causes of heart palpitations
Since we’re a cardiology practice, we want to focus on some chronic cardiovascular conditions that count heart palpitations among their primary symptoms, including:
One of the more obvious and common cardiovascular drivers of heart palpitations is an arrhythmia, which is an irregular heartbeat. Arrhythmias can lead to slow, rapid, or irregular heartbeats, and this rhythm issue can be constant or episodic.
Some of the more common arrhythmias include:
- Atrial fibrillation
- Atrial flutter
- Ventricular fibrillation
- Ventricular tachycardia
Arrhythmias affect up to 5% of the population.
2. Valvular disease
Your heart contains four valves that open and close to facilitate blood flow through the organ. If you have a malfunction in one of these valves, it can lead to heart palpitations. These palpitations usually feel like your heart is racing or skipping beats.
3. Heart failure
This is a serious and progressive condition in which your heart is increasingly unable to pump blood efficiently. While there are many symptoms of heart failure, such as fatigue and shortness of breath, heart palpitations are certainly on the list.
The list of heart-related conditions that include palpitations doesn’t end here, but we feel we’ve given you more than enough to consider.
If you’re experiencing ongoing heart palpitations, it’s important that you come see us so we can get to the bottom of the problem.
Through some targeted testing, like blood tests and an echocardiogram, we can figure out whether there’s an issue with your cardiovascular health and get you started on a treatment plan right away.
For expert diagnosis of your heart palpitations, please contact us at one of our offices in Chula Vista or National City, California, to schedule an appointment.