What causes heart palpitations and how can I treat them?

Symptom Database

Heart palpitations can be a frightening experience, causing a person to feel as though their heart is racing, pounding, or skipping beats. These sensations can be alarming, but in most cases, heart palpitations are harmless and temporary. However, it is important to understand the causes of heart palpitations and how to treat them to ensure your heart health. In this article, we will explore the various factors that can lead to heart palpitations and discuss effective treatment options.

Causes of Heart Palpitations

Heart palpitations can be triggered by a variety of factors, including:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Caffeine and stimulants
  • Alcohol and nicotine
  • Physical exertion
  • Hormonal changes
  • Medications
  • Underlying medical conditions

Understanding the underlying cause of your heart palpitations is crucial in determining the appropriate treatment.

Symptoms of Heart Palpitations

Heart palpitations can manifest in various ways, and the symptoms may include:

  • A racing or pounding heartbeat
  • Fluttering or skipping beats
  • A sensation of the heart “flipping” in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Chest discomfort or pain

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to rule out any serious underlying conditions.

Treatment for Heart Palpitations

The treatment for heart palpitations depends on the underlying cause. Here are some common approaches:

Lifestyle Changes

Managing stress levels, reducing caffeine and alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the frequency and intensity of heart palpitations.


In some cases, medications may be prescribed to regulate heart rhythm and alleviate palpitations. These medications are typically prescribed by a healthcare professional and should be taken as directed.

Cardiovascular Interventions

In more severe cases, where heart palpitations are caused by structural abnormalities or arrhythmias, cardiovascular interventions such as catheter ablation or pacemaker implantation may be necessary. These procedures are performed by cardiologists and can effectively treat underlying heart conditions.

Remedies for Heart Palpitations

In addition to medical treatments, there are several natural remedies that can help alleviate heart palpitations:

Deep Breathing

Practicing deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress and anxiety, which are common triggers for heart palpitations. Take slow, deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.

Yoga and Meditation

Engaging in yoga or meditation can promote relaxation and reduce the frequency of heart palpitations. These practices focus on calming the mind and body, helping to regulate heart rhythm.

Herbal Supplements

Some herbal supplements, such as valerian root or chamomile, have calming properties that can help reduce heart palpitations. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any herbal supplements to ensure they do not interact with any medications you may be taking.

Heart Palpitations and Anxiety

Anxiety is a common trigger for heart palpitations. When we experience anxiety or panic attacks, our body releases stress hormones that can cause the heart to beat faster and irregularly. Managing anxiety through therapy, relaxation techniques, and medication can help reduce the occurrence of heart palpitations.

Heart Palpitations During Pregnancy

Heart palpitations during pregnancy are relatively common and are often caused by hormonal changes, increased blood volume, and the physical strain on the body. In most cases, these palpitations are harmless and resolve on their own after childbirth. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying conditions.

In conclusion, heart palpitations can be a distressing experience, but they are often harmless and temporary. Understanding the causes and symptoms of heart palpitations is crucial in determining the appropriate treatment. By making lifestyle changes, seeking medical interventions when necessary, and exploring natural remedies, you can effectively manage and reduce the frequency of heart palpitations. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.

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