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Heart palpitations occur when your heart beats outside its normal rhythm, which can last just a few seconds or a couple of minutes.

It’s sometimes described as your heart racing, a heart flutter, or an irregular heartbeat.

While this is often a one-off and nothing to worry about, if you find your heart palpitations are accompanied by symptoms such as dizziness, a tight chest or trouble breathing, this could be a sign of something serious and you should speak to a doctor straight away.

As we’re about to find out, there are lots of reasons you could be experiencing heart palpitations. Our doctors will be able to form a diagnosis based on your symptoms and recommend ways to deal with your irregular heartbeat.

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heart palpitation symptoms

Heart Palpitation Symptoms

The list of potential reasons for your heart palpitations is a long one. It could be due to:

  • An adrenaline surge, when your body releases large quantities of the hormone associated with nerves or excitement
  • Habits such as smoking, drinking caffeine, too much alcohol and recreational drugs
  • Eating a particularly spicy or rich meal
  • Anxiety or stress, particularly if this leads to panic attacks
  • Side effects of a medication you’re taking
  • Hormonal changes, particularly for women who are experiencing pregnancy, periods or the menopause
  • An overactive thyroid
  • A blood disorder, such as anaemia, low blood sugar or low blood pressure

If your heart palpitations occur very regularly, this could suggest that you have a serious heart condition. If you’re at all concerned, see a doctor as soon as possible to find out why your irregular heartbeat is happening.

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Treatment for Heart Palpitations

As with many medications, treating your heart palpitations will depend on what’s causing them in the first place.

For example, if the problem is stress-related, you can be taught relaxation and mind management techniques that will help you stay calm. If your irregular heartbeat is triggered by a particular food or other substance, your doctor will probably advise you to limit or even stop using them.

However, if a physical problem with your heart or blood is to blame, your doctor will outline your treatment options, which can include medication. If this is needed, they’ll write you a prescription that you’ll be able to collect from a pharmacy of your choice.

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