We all feel our hearts race from time to time. It’s nearly impossible to go through life without experiencing a few situations that make your heart skip a few beats or pump quicker and harder than normal. You may experience such a feeling after a hard workout, on your wedding day, or in the minutes before a final exam.
But what about the times when nothing exciting or nerve-wracking is happening? If your heart races during mundane activities or when you’re at rest, it could be the sign of a more serious condition.
If you’re experiencing heart palpitations often or notice irregularities in your heartbeat, come see our team at Phoenix Heart in Greater Phoenix, Arizona. We were recently voted No. 1 in cardiology groups by Ranking Arizona magazine and we set the bar in cardiological care.
Before your appointment, the following information can also help answer some of your questions. Learn more about heart racing, also known as heart palpitations, and when you should seek the help of a cardiologist.
Common reasons for heart palpitations
When at rest, your heart rate should be between 60 to 100 times per minute. When your heart beats more than 100 times per minute, it is tachycardic. Tachycardia is not always dangerous, however. In fact, there are multiple reasons your heart may race.
The most common reason for heart palpitations is your body’s fight or flight response. In response to a frightening or stressful situation, your brain triggers the release of hormones, mainly adrenaline, that prepare your body to either stay and deal with a threat or to run away to safety. The adrenaline increases your heart rate to help you run or fight.
Other reasons for heart palpitations include:
- Strenuous exercise
- Nicotine from tobacco products
- Hormonal changes, including pregnancy
- Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications
Fast heartbeats can last for minutes or hours, depending on the cause of the palpitations.
When palpitations are an issue
If your heartbeat is quick, especially when you’re at rest or not thinking about stressful things, it may be the sign of a more serious medical issue. At Phoenix Heart, we treat many conditions with symptoms that include irregular heart palpitations, including:
- Atrial fibrillation
- Congestive heart failure
- Heart attack
- High blood pressure
If you believe you have any of these conditions, it’s time to see a doctor. We’ll use an echocardiogram and other tests to determine if your heart needs help. An echocardiogram can give a real-time view of your heart that can help determine the best approach to your cardiac treatment.
When to seek medical attention
If you ever experience any of the following in connection with heart palpitations, you should seek immediate medical attention:
- Loss of consciousness
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive sweating
- Pain in your arms, neck, chest, jaw, or upper back
These symptoms could be the sign of a cardiac event, including heart attack.
Heart racing doesn’t have to be bad, but if you’re concerned, Phoenix Heart can help. Our team is dedicated to treating patients and their caregivers with the utmost respect, empathy, and professionalism. We are also consistently at the forefront of adopting the newest and best technologies to advance the health of our patients. Call or request an appointment at one of our Arizona offices today.