What is palpitations? 

Why it’s important?

Palpitation is the abnormal awareness of one’s own heartbeat. Normally you are not aware of your heart beat, the heart just goes on beating in the background sustains our lives. When you become aware of your heart beats its palpitation. Of course you can always feel the heart beats by putting a palm on the chest. Palpitation can be normal or abnormal, like everyone experiences palpitation after running, during anxiety or emotional excitement etc. the demarcation between normal and abnormal is sometimes diminished in cardiac symptoms – like palpitation can be a normal finding but undue palpitation is abnormal. What is means that it’s ok to have palpitation after running but if you are having palpitation while doing your routine activities then it is abnormal.

Palpitation can be a symptom of a wide variety of conditions starting from acute anxiety to serious heart diseases. Many non-cardiac diseases can also produce palpitation like anemia, hyperthyroidism etc.

Among heart diseases palpitations is caused by two types of conditions:

  1. Disturbances of heart rhythm
  2. Diseases affecting the cardiac structures like – valves, heart muscles etc.

Palpitation due to rhythm abnormalities occur intermittently, are sudden in onset and may terminate on it’s own or need treatment. Palpitation due to heart disease can also present during exertion, and in more advanced conditions may be present at rest.

Sometimes palpitation can be associated with a feeling of light-headedness and blackening of vision and may lead to frank fainting attacks. Many cardiac diseses like aortic valve diseases , pulmonary hypertension can lead to palpitation and syncope. When the heart is dilated like in some patients with heart failure it can lead to palpitation.

Most commonly many of us sometimes feel like missing a beat or palpitation which are usually caused by premature atrial or ventricular contractions.

The message is – “don’t ignore a palpitation.” Always consult your doctor . it  may turn out to be a minor problem or no problem at all  , but it is better than unknowingly denying a serious problem

Thank you

Dr. Anupam Jena

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