Heart palpitations are not uncommon and they are most often harmless. It may feel as though your heart skipped a beat or "fluttered," or as if your heart is beating too fast. While an occasional palpitation is not generally a problem, if you have experienced them for two days or longer, see your doctor. You may have an underlying medical condition that requires treatment, such as an overactive thyroid or a heart valve disease. If medical tests clear you of a more-serious problem, your doctor may recommend home treatment to avoid triggers, like stress or nicotine.
- Skill level:
Maintain a record of when you experience heart palpitations and how long they lasted over the two days you experienced them. Indicate your activity at the time, such as whether you were exercising or if they occurred after eating.
Bring your record to your doctor. Having heart palpitations for two days may be cause for concern, especially if you have never experienced heart palpitations before or if you are at risk for heart disease. Risk factors can include diabetes and high cholesterol. Your doctor can order tests to determine the cause of your palpitations and develop a treatment plan. If you have no underlying medical conditions, home treatment may work for you.
Discuss your medications with your doctor, including over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements. Some medicines, such as drugs for high blood pressure, colds, asthma and diet pills, can cause heart palpitations. Recreational drugs like cocaine can also result in an abnormal heartbeat. If a drug may be the culprit, work with your doctor to figure out an alternative treatment.
Quit smoking, if you use tobacco. Nicotine can cause heart palpitations.
Limit or eradicate your caffeine intake. This includes caffeinated teas and chocolate as well as coffee.
Ease your anxiety and stress, which can contribute to heart palpitations. Try exercising or taking a meditation class. If you are undergoing a difficult event in your life, consider talking to a therapist.
Tips and warnings
- Call 911 immediately if you experience heart palpitations that cause you to lose consciousness, have chest pain or shortness of breath.
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