What’s going on when heart palpitations persist for hours almost every day?
“Some people use the word [palpitations] to describe a fast or rapid heart rate; others to note an irregular heart rate,” says Pilar Stevens-Cohen, MD, FACC, Department of Cardiology, South Nassau Communities Hospital.
“Non-cardiac causes may include thyroid disease, anxiety, hormonal imbalance, high blood pressure, pulmonary issues, GERD/reflux.”
I’ll confess that I once felt heart palpitations within seconds after beginning to read an article about…none other than heart palpitations.
The power of suggestion can be very powerful. After I realized how crazy this was, the symptom vanished.
I also experienced that attention-getting thumping heartbeat when I logged onto my e-mail and saw a message from someone—a message I was expecting—and I knew that the news might be very terrible (turned out it wasn’t).
But while I was waiting for the message to open…my heart was just thumping in a PVC type of way.
I don’t mean racing due to adrenaline…but what actually felt like palpitations from PVCs. Both of these incidents were extremely transient and precipitated by anxiety.
Dr. Stevens-Cohen further explains, “If symptoms persists or occur daily, or if they interfere with daily activities including exercise regimen, it’s time to see a physician and be referred to a cardiologist.
“There are some conditions–valvular heart disease (mitral valve prolapse or mitral stenosis) that are associated with palpitations.
“The most important diagnostic tests utilized are an echocardiogram (looking for structural heart disease) and an event or Holter monitor.
“The key is to catch the palpitations on a monitor so we can know if rhythm is dangerous or warrants further treatment.”
A normal echocardiogram means that the palpitations you feel are benign.
Dr. Stevens-Cohen is board certified in cardiology, nuclear cardiology, echocardiography and internal medicine.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.