Skip to content

When Should You Be Worried About Heart Palpitations?

When Should You Be Worried About Heart Palpitations? Infographic

This information was reviewed by Christopher Dyke, MD (June 2023).


When Should You Be Worried About Heart Palpitations?

What Are Heart Palpitations?

Heart palpitations are a common condition characterized by the feeling of a rapid, irregular or pounding heartbeat.


  • A racing heartbeat
  • A pounding heartbeat
  • The feeling your heart has skipped a beat
  • A fluttering sensation

You may feel these symptoms in your chest, neck or throat.

Common Causes

While there many possible causes of heart palpitations, the most common factors behind them include:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Stimulants like caffeine and nicotine
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Certain medications (consult with your doctor)
  • Intense exercise
  • Pregnancy
  • Thyroid conditions


Heart Palpitations Are Common and Most Go Away on Their Own

While heart palpitations can be a symptom of a serious condition like arrhythmia or atrial fibrillation, they are usually not cause for concern and do not always require treatment. Many times, heart palpitations will go away on their own.

Signs of a More Severe Issue

In rare cases, palpitations can be a sign of a more serious heart condition. Talk with your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms with your heart palpitations.

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Fainting


Diagnosing Heart Palpitations

When diagnosing heart palpitations, your doctor will listen to your heart and lungs. They will also counsel you on lifestyle issues that might be causing this condition, such as sleep deprivation and stress.

If your doctor suspects a more significant heart condition like arrhythmia is behind your palpitations, they may conduct more intensive examinations, such as electrocardiogram or echocardiogram.


Heart palpitations do not always require treatment, and simple lifestyle adjustments such as getting more exercise or sleep can help to improve this condition.

Managing your stress levels can go a long way.

Quitting cigarettes and other tobacco products can help too!