Heart Palpitations

If you're having heart palpitations, you don't want to have to wait before seeing a doctor.

With Push Doctor, you can see an experienced GP in minutes, seven days a week on your smartphone, tablet or computer.

If you're experiencing severe chest pain, you should call 999 immediately.

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 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.

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

When 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.