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Why Does My Heart Feel Like It Skips a Beat?

You probably don't think about your heart beating because it's just something your body does automatically. But you likely notice every beat when something doesn't seem right with your heart.

Feeling your heart skip a beat can be scary, especially if it's something you've never felt before. Although palpitations or arrhythmias are common and aren't always dangerous, they can certainly be unnerving.

Knowing what's causing your heart to skip a beat helps you understand when you need further treatment or diagnostic testing. At the Vein, Heart, and Vascular Institute, our team evaluates and treats many different heart issues, including palpitations and other arrhythmias.

Our two cardiologists, Dr. Hesham Fahkri and Dr. Octavio Cosme, quickly determine the cause of your palpitations so you know whether you need further treatment.

What are heart palpitations?

A heart palpitation happens when you suddenly feel your heartbeat in your chest, neck, or throat. The feeling may seem like your heart skipped a beat, fluttered, or pounded.

Heart palpitations can be sudden and only happen once or be a chronic problem related to a medical problem or stress.

Some palpitations are simply a scary feeling, while others come with symptoms, including the following:

If you feel your heart skip a beat, you could be experiencing a heart palpitation. If you've never experienced one, it can be terrifying and make you uneasy.

The good news is that some heart palpitations aren't a real cause for concern and may happen due to lifestyle choices or stress.

Causes of skipped heartbeats

Heart palpitations have varying causes, from minor stressful situations to significant heart issues. The underlying causes of heart palpitations include:

Medications

Certain medications can cause your heart to skip a beat or pound out of your chest. Common medications that lead to heart palpitations include antidepressants, asthma medications, and antihistamines.

Medical problems

Sometimes, heart palpitations happen because of an underlying medical problem like low blood sugar levels and anemia. Other medical issues that lead to heart palpitations include electrolyte problems, low blood pressure, and thyroid issues.

Heart conditions

One of the more concerning causes of palpitations is underlying heart problems. If you experience palpitations that continue or last more than a few seconds, you may have a congenital heart problem, mitral valve prolapse, or heart failure.

Arrhythmias

Arrhythmias are irregular heartbeats related to an issue with the electrical system in the heart. While some arrhythmias aren't a long-term concern to your health, others can be hazardous.

Common arrhythmias include atrial fibrillation, tachycardia, supraventricular tachycardia, and bradycardia.

Lifestyle choices

Sometimes, your heart can skip a beat due to your lifestyle choices. For example, drinking too much caffeine or taking stimulants like illegal drugs can cause heart palpitations.

Smoking tobacco, dehydration, and not getting enough quality sleep may also lead to heart palpitations.

Hormonal changes related to pregnancy or menopause cause irregular heartbeats, too, along with stress and extreme anxiety.

When to see a doctor for palpitations

Whenever you feel a heart palpitation, it's a cause for concern, especially if you've never had one. But you don't always need professional treatment, especially if the palpitations disappear quickly.

Most palpitations due to lifestyle triggers, hormonal problems, or psychological issues only last for a few seconds and resolve on their own. But if your symptoms continue, call us right away, especially if you have:

If you have chest pain or shortness of breath along with heart palpitations, seek help immediately at an emergency room. These could be signs of a dangerous underlying heart problem.

We can treat most palpitations without invasive procedures unless the cause is an underlying heart problem.

If you're worried about heart palpitations, don't hesitate to call us today at one of our conveniently located offices in Tampa, Sun City, and Wesley Chapel, Florida. You may also request a consultation using our online booking tool.

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