Palpitation Specialist

While it’s not common for palpitations to be a sign of heart problems, there is a chance they’re a symptom of something more than an overdose of caffeine. If you’re experiencing regular or worsening attacks of palpitations, Prime Heart and Vascular’s experienced cardiovascular specialist Kiran Kumar Mangalpally, MD, can help. Find out what’s causing your heart to race by contacting one of the Prime Heart and Vascular offices.

Palpitations are a common condition where you feel your heart racing or pounding for short periods. 

Most often, palpitations aren’t due to serious health issues. However, in some cases, they can be a sign of an underlying heart condition.

What causes palpitations?

Palpitations can arise from a wide variety of causes, including:

  • An excess of caffeine
  • Caffeine intolerance
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Depression
  • Medication side effects
  • Hormonal changes
  • Smoking

Having an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can give you palpitations, as can a fluctuation in the levels of potassium in your blood.

In some instances, palpitations indicate that you have a problem like arrhythmia or a form of heart disease.

Do I need to see a doctor about heart palpitations?

If you’re only getting heart palpitations now and then and they don’t last long, the cause isn’t likely to be serious. You could try cutting down on caffeine or addressing other possible triggers for palpitations to see if that stops them.

If you continue to experience palpitations – especially if they’re occurring more frequently or lasting longer – you should visit Prime Heart and Vascular for a cardiac health check. If you develop other symptoms at the same time as your palpitations, that might be a sign of a more urgent problem. Call 911 or get to a hospital if, in addition to palpitations, you also have:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive sweating at rest

These are symptoms that could indicate heart failure or a heart attack and require immediate medical attention.

How is the cause of palpitations diagnosed?

To diagnose the cause of your palpitations, your provider looks for relevant information in your medical history and discusses your symptoms and lifestyle with you. They also perform a physical exam, checking your blood pressure and other vital signs and listening to your heart through a stethoscope.

You might also need to have a blood test or undergo diagnostic procedures such as:

  • An electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • An echocardiogram (heart ultrasound)
  • Stress testing
  • Holter monitoring
  • Event recording

Using these methods, your provider can detect or rule out any heart problems.

How are palpitations treated?

If your palpitations don’t relate to your heart, you need to see your primary care provider to determine what’s causing them. You should be able to take steps to eliminate any triggers like caffeine or stress or change your medication if that’s the cause of your palpitations. You can also get the right treatment for conditions like hormone imbalances and hyperthyroidism.

If your palpitations are a sign of underlying heart disease, your provider can prescribe appropriate medication or other therapies to improve your heart function.

If you’re worried about palpitations for which you can’t find an explanation, call Prime Heart and Vascular today or book an appointment online.