Steady electrical impulses make the heart beat with such regularity that you don't even notice it. But if the system develops a glitch, you may experience palpitations – a fluttering or pounding sensation in your chest – as your heart beats too fast or ‘skips a beat’.

 

What causes palpitations?

Palpitations occasionally indicate a serious heart problem, but most cases are caused by fatigue, worry, illness or stress. Although they can make you feel anxious, they don't usually need medical treatment, and can be treated quite easily. Click here for advice on relieving palpitations.

Recurring palpitations

Unless you have a history of heart disease, there's generally no reason to see your doctor if you have palpitations unless they occur more than once a week, become more frequent or are accompanied by a feeling of light-headedness or dizziness. You should talk to your doctor if you get palpitations often and have other signs of increased thyroid over-activity such as weight loss, fatigue or insomnia. If you faint or experience tightness in your chest accompanied by nausea and sweating, call 999 immediately; you might be having a heart attack.

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