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Feelings of having pounding, fluttering and rapid heartbeat are termed as palpitations. Palpitations are triggered by exercise, stress, certain medications or any underlying medical condition. Heart palpitations are worrisome but largely harmless, and resolve on their own without any treatment. However in a few cases, heart palpitations could be an indicator of an underlying heart condition. Heart palpitations can be felt in the chest, throat or neck.

Heart palpitations can occur when the person is active or at rest, while lying down or while standing or sitting. If the person experiences dizziness, discomfort in the chest, shortness of breath, see the doctor soon.

Common causes of palpitations

Commonly reported symptoms include fluttering heartbeat, skipped heartbeat and heartbeats faster than usual. Some of the common causes that give rise to palpitations are caffeine, exercise, smoking, or anxiety. In women, palpitation may also occur due to hormonal changes associated with menstruation, menopause or pregnancy. Cold and asthma medication also triggers palpitations. In rare cases, heart palpitations can be a symptom of serious heart condition, such as arrhythmia or hyperthyroidism that requires treatment.

  • Strenuous exercise, vigorous physical activity.
  • Stress, string emotions such as anxiety, fear
  • Low levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood
  • Fever
  • Menopause, pregnancy or menstruation induced hormonal changes
  • Nicotine use
  • Alcohol
  • Excessive caffeine
  • Certain cold and cough medications
  • Blood loss
  • Medical conditions such as low blood sugar, thyroid disorders, dehydration, low blood pressure and anemia.
  • Certain herbal and nutritional supplements
  • Abnormal electrolyte levels

Palpitations are monitored with a physical examination and the following:

Chest X-ray
Event recording: A Holter Monitor is worn in the chest, it continuously records the hearts signal for 24-48 hours. It can detect rhythm abnormalities that were not detected using an ECG.


Pyrophobia is an excessive fear of fire. A person suffering from pyrophobia experiences breathlessness, nausea and anxiety when he sees fire. These symptoms of pyrophobia are noticed even if there is no danger from the fire. There might be heart palpitations and trembling.


Ornithophobia refers to a fear of birds. A person suffering Ornithophobia can feel breathless, dizzy and have a panic attack. It can result in dry mouth and palpitations.


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