Have you ever felt a fluttering on your chest or felt as though your heart skipped a beat? Do you ever get a sensation of a racing pulse or a pounding heart? Should you just ignore it or is it something to worry about?

Palpitation is a sensation that your heart is racing, pounding, fluttering or skipping a beat. This is not a sign of heart disease, but the feeling can be bothersome. In this post, we will discuss palpitation with respect to its causes and complications. We will also discuss, in simple terms, tips to help you reduce their occurrence and when you should see a Doctor.

Common causes of palpitation

Your palpitation can be caused by one or more of the following:

  • Lifestyle factors such as tobacco use, use of marijuana and excessive alcohol intake.
  • Use of stimulants, including caffeine, nicotine, cocaine and amphetamines.
  • Unhealthy emotional responses, such as stress, anxiety or panic attacks.
  • Depression.
  • Strenuous exercise.
  • Fever.
  • Some medications such as pseudoephedrine found in cold and cough medications.
  • Hormone changes associated with menstruation, pregnancy or menopause.
  • Too much or too little thyroid hormones.

Occasionally, heart palpitations can also result from the following conditions:

  • Thyroid problems.
  • Abnormal heart rhythms, known as arrhythmias.
  • Atrial fibrillation (a condition in which the upper chambers of the heart quiver instead of beating regularly).
  • Heart failure, in rare cases.
  • Heart valve disease.


If your palpitation is not caused by a heart condition, there’s little risk of complications. The following are possible complications for palpitations caused by a heart condition:

  • Fainting. If your heart beats rapidly, your blood pressure can drop, causing you to faint. This might be more likely if you have a heart problem, such as congenital heart disease or certain valve problems.
  • Cardiac arrest. Rarely, palpitations can be caused by life-threatening arrhythmias and can cause your heart to stop beating effectively.
  • Stroke. If palpitations are due to atrial fibrillation, blood can pool and cause clots to form. If a clot breaks loose, it can block a brain artery, causing a stroke.
  • Heart failure. This can result if your heart is pumping ineffectively for a prolonged period due to an arrhythmia, such as atrial fibrillation.

What you can do about your palpitations

The most appropriate way to treat palpitations at home is to avoid the triggers that cause your symptoms. Imbibing the following may reduce your palpitations:

  • Stress reduction: Try relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga or deep breathing.
  • Avoiding stimulants: Caffeine, nicotine, some cold medicines and energy drinks can make your heart beat quickly or irregularly.
  • Desisting from illegal drugs: Certain drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines, can bring on heart palpitations.

When to see a doctor

If your palpitations are infrequent and last only a few seconds, they may not need to be evaluated. However, if you have a history of heart disease and have palpitations that occur frequently or worsen, it’s important you talk to your doctor. He or she might suggest heart-monitoring tests to see if your palpitations are caused by a more serious heart problem.

Seek immediate medical attention if you notice that your heart palpitations are accompanied by other signs and symptoms such as:

  • Chest discomfort or pain
  • Fainting
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Severe dizziness

Unless your doctor finds that you have a heart condition, heart palpitations rarely require treatment. Your doctor may be able to recommend ways for you to avoid the triggers that cause your palpitations.

Often, palpitations do not call for serious medical attention but knowing what action to take when you have palpitation is golden.

We hope this helps.

Disclaimer: This article is strictly for educational purposes and is not in any way intended for use in diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Always see your Doctor when you need medical attention or your Pharmacist when you need professional counsel on drugs and drug-related matters.

For professional advice on drugs and drug-related matters:  Visit the closest Alpha Pharmacy to you or call +2349062547022.