An awareness of own heartbeats that can be hard, rapid, slow, skipped is called heart palpitations. You can learn about various causes of heart palpitations symptoms in this article.
Often you can hear or feel your own heart pounding when you exercise or do some physical activities. Sometimes you might also feel your heart beating fast even when you are just sitting still or moving slowly. Most of the time, these heart palpitations are harmless. However, if the heart palpitations happen frequently, it might indicate a problem.
Causes of heart palpitations symptoms
There are two main general causes of heart palpitations:
- Heart related causes
Heart palpitations may be felt by patients of arrhythmia and other heart-related disorders.
- Non-heart related causes
Certain medicines, supplements, illegal drugs, substances, certain situations and medical disorders can make your heart beat faster.
Moreover, a palpitation can be caused by ectopic beat, which needs a more specific diagnosis.
Sometimes the causes of heart palpitations cannot be found. In these cases, the heart palpitations usually are normal and are not due to any heart disease or other causes.
Now, let's take a more detail look at several common causes of heart palpitations symptoms.
Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
Cardica arrhythmias is an irregular rhythms of the heart that may felt like the heart skipping beats, racing, too slow or extra beat. Arrhythmias including premature atrial contraction, junctional escape beat, premature ventricular contraction, atrial fibrillation, supraventricular tachycardia, ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, heart block. Read this article Cause of Blackouts, Fainting, Chest Pain, Shortness of Breath with Chest Pressure - Cardiac arrhythmia to learn more about arrhythmias.
Drinking too much alcohol is a fairly common cause of heart palpitations symptom, even in younger people. Alcohol causes dehydration to the body and this stresses the heart in finding the adequate amount of blood to be pumped around to the organs. This will raises the heart rate and leads to heart palpitations symptom, although its effects will be varied from person to person.
Andropause is a natural cessation of sexual function in older men. Andropause or male menopause symptoms may include: low sex drive / libido decreased with age, general tiredness, fatigue, hot flashes, night sweats and heart palpitations / irregular heartbeat.
A condition characterized by an abnormally low number of red blood cells; symptoms include shortness of breath, lack of energy, appear pale, fatigue and heart palpitations. The palpitations are a result from the lack of oxygen causing the heart need to beat faster to make it up.
Anxiety and panic attacks
Anxiety and panic attacks are other causes of heart palpitations. It is normal to feel the heart thumping when feeling terrified or scared, but in severe cases psychological assessment is recommended. For further information on anxiety, visit Anxiety and Heart Palpitations – Signs and Symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder
Undernourishment of the heart caused by deficiency of blood due to blood loss can lead to heart palpitations. Other symptoms such as fatigue, pale complexion, insomnia, poor memory, and dizziness often accompany the heart palpitations symptoms.
Caffeine is what gives coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate and even some over-the-counter drugs their stimulating effects. Excessive intake of stimulants can lead to racing heart or irregular heart beat. The effects usually vary from person to person depending on the amount of caffeine you intake and your ages.
Cocaine is also a stimulant drug. It constricts arteries and elevates blood pressure and the heart rate. Overusing it will cause the heart to deregulate and palpitate.
Diabetes is characterized by an abnormally elevated level of blood glucose and by the excretion of the excess glucose in the urine. Signs and symptoms of diabetes include feels hungry and thirsty frequently, does not put on weight, gets dizzy easily, looks pale, gets constipated and in rare cases, experience some degree of heart palpitations symptoms.
There are many forms, varieties and types of diet pill and they usually don’t share similar effectiveness for everyone. Diet pill may also cause inadvertent effect on each individual. Common side effects are uncomfortable cramping, gas and diarrhea. Some may experience a raise in heart palpitations symptoms and blood pressure, with this comes along the increase in the risk of a stroke or a heart attack.
Excessive pain is another cause of heart palpitations.
High fever such as pyrexia - a rise in the temperature of the body as a manifestation of infection - is one of the causes of heart palpitations.
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart fails to supply enough blood throughout the body. Some symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, frequent coughing, increased heart rate, heart palpitations, fatigue, weakness, swollen ankles and legs, loss of appetite and weight gain.
High Blood Pressure
One of the possible physical symptoms of high blood pressure is heart palpitations. It's often accompanied by chest pain and sweating.
Hypercapnia is a physical condition where there is a presence of an abnormally high level of carbon dioxide in the circulating blood. In some cases, hypercapnia sufferers may experience symptoms of heart palpitations.
Hyperthyroidism / thyroid malfunction / overactive thyroid
Hyperthyroidism is a condition of an overactive thyroid. One of the most common symptom of hyperthyroidism is a feeling of palpitations or a sensation of a racing heart beat. Heart palpitations symptoms and racing heart beat are caused by the physiologic effect of thyroid hormone on the heart. Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism are heat intolerance, nervousness, shortness of breath, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, muscle weakness and hair loss.
Hyperventilation / low carbon dioxide level in the blood
This a condition characterized by an abnormally prolonged and rapid breathing, and thereby reducing the carbon dioxide and increasing oxygen levels that produce various symptoms such as numbness or tingling in the hands, feet and lips, lightheadedness, dizziness, headache, chest pain, slurred speech, faintness, heart palpitations, and, if continued, loss of consciousness.
Hypoglycemia is a condition of an abnormally low blood sugar usually resulting from excessive insulin or a poor diet. Signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia include trembling, heart palpitations, sweating and dilated pupils.
Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid does not produce sufficient amount of thyroid hormone. Symptoms of low thyroid functioning may include fatigue, intolerance to cold, depression, fatigue, pale skin, painful menstrual and occasionally heart palpitations.
Hypoxia / Low levels of oxygen in blood / lack of oxygen
Low oxygen concentration in blood below normal, for instance while climbing in high altitudes may lead to heart palpitations symptoms.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection acquired from tick bites of the genus Borrelia. The disease usually causes many different symptoms. Some of the first symptoms of Lyme disease are the presence of reddish “bulls-eye”, fever, malaise, fatigue, muscle pain, heart palpitations and many more.
Certain medications such as levocetirizine antihistamines, amphetamines, anti-depressants, thyroid pills, asthma drugs (i.e. clenbuterol), beta blockers, or anti-arrhythmics may cause a different irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations. Here are some articles that discuss about heart palpitations caused by certain medications:
Menopause heart palpitations is a very common symptom during menopause. Stress in menopausal women may worsen heart palpitations symptom.
Mitral stenosis is an obstruction or narrowing of the mitral valve of the heart obstructing the flow of blood from the left atrium into the left ventricle. This is one of the possible causes of heart palpitations.
Mitral valve prolapse
Mitral valve prolapse is a condition in which one or both portions of the valve do not close completely when the heart contracts. Fatigue, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain and general weakness are some of the noted symptoms of the disorder.
Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarette smoke can constrict arteries and encourage heart palpitations. It can lead to respiratory failure and paralysis at large doses while smaller amounts can cause nausea, dizziness, lowered blood pressure, and heart palpitations. The causes of heart palpitations can also be due to a heart disease, especially when the palpitations is accompanied by other symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, weakness, shortness of breath or chest pain. If you experience any of these symptoms in addition to the palpitations you should see your doctor.
Overexertion and spikes in adrenaline as the result of hard workout, extreme activities, hard / strenuous exercise
Overexertion and spikes in adrenaline from heavy workouts, extreme activities or hard strenuous exercise may result in temporary heart palpitations or racing heart or pounding heart. The possibility increases when the activity is accompanied by emotional reactions like nervousness and excitement.
This is a vascular tumor of the adrenal gland which causes intermittent or sustained high blood pressure. The high blood pressure is characterized by symptoms of heart palpitations, headache, sweating, chest pain and tachcardiarrhythmias. Visit Pheochromocytoma: Symptoms of Adrenal Gland Tumor / Cancer to find out more about this type of tumor.
The main cause of heart palpitations in pregnant women is stress on the heart which is due to the increased of blood volume and hormone progesterone. The palpitations may feel like a racing, pounding heart or irregular heart beat.
Pulmonary embolism is a condition where one or more arteries in the lungs become blocked. Possible symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include chest pain, breathlessness, coughing, fever, palpitations, racing heart beat, excessive sweating, dizziness, fainting and confusion.
This is a form of reactive arthritis that may damage the heart valves or the outer lining of the heart. Its features include very painful joint inflammation (arthritis), fever, chest pain or palpitations caused by heart inflammation (carditis), uncontrollable movements, a rash, and small bumps under the skin.
Stress and fear
Stressful situations cause an increase in the level of stress hormones, such as adrenaline. An excess of adrenaline may result in certain types of abnormal heart rhythm.
Other less common cause of heart palpitations is pericardial cancer from asbestos exposure.
There you go, various causes of heart palpitations. Remember, heart palpitations symptoms are a medical emergency when it’s accompanied by shortness of breath, chest pain, unusual sweating, dizziness, or lightheadedness and loss of consciousness. If this the case then it should be addressed immediately.
Disclaimer: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.