Most of us experience heart palpitations — often quite regularly. Perhaps your heart pounds after you climb a few flights of stairs or skips a beat when something frightens you. These are everyday occurrences that can make you aware of your own heartbeat. But what about when these sensations come on for no reason? Is there cause for concern? Perhaps.
From our three greater Los Angeles area locations, Michael Bazel, M.D. offices are equipped with everything Dr. Bazel and our team need to handle primary and urgent care needs, including electrocardiogram (EKG) testing.
This frontline diagnostic tool provides valuable information about your cardiovascular health and can often point us in the right direction when it comes to potentially worrisome symptoms like ongoing and unexplained heart palpitations.
Heart palpitations — often perfectly normal
A heart palpitation is a heightened awareness of your heartbeat, so, as you can imagine, this condition can crop up for any number of reasons, many of them perfectly harmless.
Palpitations can present themselves in many different ways and are often described as:
For example, your heart feels like it skips a beat (or two) when someone scares you. Or, your heart feels like it’s racing after you drink a cup of coffee. These are perfectly normal scenarios and illustrate just how common heart palpitations can be.
The one characteristic of these types of heart palpitations is that they’re fleeting and usually last only seconds or minutes.
Ongoing heart palpitations
Now let's say your heart feels like it’s doing somersaults for no apparent reason, and it does so with some regularity. In these instances, we feel that you should come see us.
Ongoing issues with heart palpitations can signal a number of potentially worrisome conditions, such as:
- Valvular disease
- Low blood pressure
- Thyroid problems
- Hormone issues
- Panic attack disorder
Arrhythmias lead to heartbeats that are too fast, too slow, or irregular. The most common type of arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation (AFib), a condition in which the upper chambers of your heart beat irregularly. This can be a serious problem as AFib is cited in about 15-20% of strokes.
One of the easiest ways to diagnose an arrhythmia is with an EKG. With this quick-and-painless test, we can evaluate the electrical activity in your heart to confirm or rule out a cardiovascular issue. Either way, we can get you on the road to an appropriate treatment plan for your heart palpitations.
A word about heart attacks
Heart attacks come with very serious and sudden heart palpitations, alongside other symptoms like:
- Chest pain
- Pain in your jaw, shoulder, and/or back
- Difficulty breathing
- Nausea and vomiting
These are potential signs of a heart attack and you should seek emergency care right away. If your heart palpitations are milder and not accompanied by other symptoms, then come see us for testing so we can get to the bottom of your issue.
For an expert evaluation of your heart palpitations, call one of our conveniently located offices in Panorama City, Bell, or Valley Village, California, to schedule an appointment today. Or you can request an appointment online anytime.