The Woodlands Heart & Vascular Center
Cardiologist located in Shenandoah, TX & Sugar Land, TX
Have you ever felt like your heart skipped a beat? If this is happening to you frequently, you may be experiencing heart palpitations. While this sensation can feel alarming at first, Jasmine Khan, MD, and the team at The Woodlands Heart & Vascular Center have the experience to determine what’s causing your palpitations and resolve them. Schedule an appointment at the office in Shenandoah and Sugar Land, Texas, by calling or requesting one online today.
Heart Palpitations Q & A
What are heart palpitations?
Heart palpitations feel like your heart is fluttering or beating rapidly. While they’re typically harmless, some palpitations can be so severe that you feel them in your throat and neck.
Palpitations often go hand in hand with stress and anxiety, but in some cases, they’re the first sign of a heart condition.
What causes heart palpitations?
Many factors affect the frequency and severity of heart palpitations. Most aren’t dangerous and often resolve on their own. Others, however, may indicate an untreated underlying condition. Some of the most common causes of heart palpitations are:
- Stress or anxiety
- Fear, shock, or panic
- Caffeine, nicotine, or tobacco
- Low blood sugar
- Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
Heart disease, a defective heart valve, or an arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) can also cause palpitations.
How are heart palpitations diagnosed?
Because heart palpitations can have many different causes, it’s important that the team at The Woodlands Heart & Vascular Center determines the cause before recommending treatment.
The first step is learning more about your lifestyle. Your doctor may ask you questions such as if you are experiencing sudden stress in your life or if you've recently switched medications. Answering these questions honestly helps the team figure out why you’re experiencing palpitations.
Along with gathering information about your lifestyle habits, your provider performs a thorough physical exam. If they need additional information, they may order one or more of the following tests:
- Blood test
- Urine test
- Stress test
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Chest X-ray
- Coronary angiography (checking blood flow to your heart)
If necessary, they may also recommend a Holter monitor, a machine that records your heart rhythm for 24 hours to check for abnormalities.
How are heart palpitations treated?
Treating heart palpitations depends entirely on your cause. If you have an underlying heart condition, the team at The Woodlands Heart & Vascular Center takes the appropriate measures to ensure your heart remains healthy.
Certain medications, such as beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers, can help if you have an arrhythmia.
Regardless of the cause, the team may recommend various lifestyle changes, such as cutting down on caffeine and alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, and avoiding overly strenuous exercises to see if these modifications reduce the frequency of your palpitations.
If you’re experiencing heart palpitations, call The Woodlands Heart & Vascular Center or request an appointment online today.