What are the causes and remedies for palpitations?

Symptom Database

Palpitations, also known as heart palpitations, can be a frightening experience for anyone. The sensation of your heart pounding or racing can be alarming, leading to anxiety and worry. Understanding the causes and remedies for palpitations is essential for managing this condition and maintaining heart health.

Causes of Palpitations

Palpitations can be caused by various factors, ranging from lifestyle choices to underlying medical conditions. Some common causes of palpitations include:

  • Stress and anxiety: High levels of stress and anxiety can trigger palpitations. When you are stressed or anxious, your body releases stress hormones that can affect your heart rate.
  • Caffeine and stimulants: Consuming excessive amounts of caffeine or other stimulants like energy drinks can lead to palpitations. These substances can increase your heart rate and cause irregular heartbeats.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as those used to treat asthma or high blood pressure, can have palpitations as a side effect. It is important to consult with your doctor if you experience palpitations after starting a new medication.
  • Physical exertion: Intense physical activity or exercise can cause your heart to beat faster, leading to palpitations. However, this is usually temporary and not a cause for concern.
  • Heart conditions: Underlying heart conditions, such as arrhythmias or heart valve problems, can cause palpitations. These conditions require medical attention and treatment.

Symptoms of Palpitations

Palpitations can manifest in different ways, and the symptoms may vary from person to person. Some common symptoms of palpitations include:

  • A racing or pounding heart
  • Skipped or irregular heartbeats
  • Fluttering sensation in the chest
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest discomfort or pain

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.

Managing Palpitations

While palpitations can be unsettling, there are several strategies you can employ to manage and reduce their occurrence. Here are some tips:

1. Identify triggers:

Pay attention to your lifestyle and identify any triggers that may be causing your palpitations. Keep a journal to track your activities, diet, and emotions when palpitations occur. This can help you identify patterns and make necessary changes.

2. Reduce stress:

Stress is a common trigger for palpitations. Incorporate stress-reducing techniques into your daily routine, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or engaging in hobbies that help you relax.

3. Limit caffeine and stimulant intake:

Reduce your consumption of caffeine and other stimulants, such as energy drinks and nicotine. Opt for decaffeinated beverages and herbal teas instead.

4. Stay hydrated:

Dehydration can contribute to palpitations. Ensure you drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day to maintain proper hydration.

5. Get regular exercise:

Engaging in regular physical activity can help regulate your heart rate and improve overall cardiovascular health. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.

Palpitations Treatment and Remedies

The treatment for palpitations depends on the underlying cause. If your palpitations are due to an underlying heart condition, your doctor may prescribe medications or recommend procedures to address the issue.

However, if your palpitations are not related to a serious heart condition, there are several remedies you can try:

1. Deep breathing exercises:

Practice deep breathing exercises to help calm your body and regulate your heart rate. Inhale deeply through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth.

2. Vagal maneuvers:

Vagal maneuvers are techniques that stimulate the vagus nerve, which can help regulate your heart rate. These maneuvers include bearing down as if having a bowel movement, coughing forcefully, or immersing your face in cold water.

3. Avoiding triggers:

Avoid known triggers that cause your palpitations. This may include reducing stress, avoiding caffeine and stimulants, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

4. Medications:

In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medications to help manage your palpitations. These medications may include beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, or anti-anxiety medications.

5. Cardioversion:

In certain situations, your doctor may recommend cardioversion, a procedure that uses electrical shocks to restore a normal heart rhythm. This is typically done under sedation in a controlled medical setting.

It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate treatment and remedies for your specific situation.


Palpitations can be a distressing experience, but understanding their causes and remedies can help you manage and reduce their occurrence. By identifying triggers, reducing stress, and making lifestyle changes, you can effectively manage palpitations and promote heart health. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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