Heart palpitations can be described as an intermittent fluttering, racing or pounding heartbeat. Palpitations may be harmless or may signal a more severe problem.
Palpitations can be triggered by stress, exercise, medication, or an underlying health condition.
Many things can cause heart palpitations. In the vast majority of cases, the cause is either related to your heart or is unknown. Non-heart-related causes of palpitations include:
- Strong emotions such as anxiety, fear, or stress; palpitations often occur during a panic attack
- Vigorous physical activity
- Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, or illegal street drugs
- Medical conditions, including thyroid, low blood sugar levels, anemia, low blood pressure, dehydration
- Medications (e.g, diet pills, decongestants, asthma inhalers
- Certain herbal and nutritional supplements
- Abnormal electrolyte levels
Some people experience palpitations after eating heavy meals that are rich in carbohydrates, sugar, or fat. Sometimes, eating foods with high levels of monosodium glutamate (MSG), nitrates, or sodium can bring them on.
Heart palpitations could be a sign of an underlying heart condition such congenital heart disease, cardiac arrest, stroke, and heart failure.
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