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Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 18678
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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Can you tell if you are having heart palpatations?

Customer Question

Can you tell if you are having heart palpatations?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Hello from JustAnswer.

Palpitations is a subjective perception of a rapid, pounding, or fluttering heart. Since it is a subjective perception, then you can tell you are having palpitations when you feel them. However, palpitations are not always a sign of heart disease.For example, it is common for a person to feel palpitations during period of stress and anxiety, even when there is no heart disease.

So, what I think that you meant to ask is how someone would know whether palpitations are potentially serious. The majority of palpitations are not serious, but if there are other associated symptoms, such as lightheadedness, dizziness, chest pain, or shortness of breath, that would be the most worrisome, and should have prompt evaluation. If the palpitations are infrequent, brief, and not associated with other symptoms, then there would be no concern. If there are palpitations that are occurring more often or for longer episodes, but also not associated with the worrisome symptoms, the palpitations should be evaluated, but it does not need to be done urgently.

If I can provide any further information, please let me know.
Dr. D. Love and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you very much for the answer. I have been stressed at work and home over the last couple of months and have also had a cold and cough over the Christmas break which of course did make me a little breathless when doing anything physical which I think also added to the stress. I am going to take part in an Oxford University medical research study and they will be taking all my vital signs and possibly an ECG before I commence the programme so hopefully that will help with my concerns.

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
I am sorry for the delay, but I was away from the computer when you responded.

Certainly, being under increased stress can explain the palpitations.

If the ECG is normal, that is reassuring, but the optimal test for evaluating palpitations would be a device that records the ECG for 24 hours, called a Holter monitor. If the palpitations are infrequent, brief, and not associated with other symptoms, there is no reason for consideration of a Holter monitor, but if an evaluation is indicated, a Holter monitor would be considered, even if the ECG is normal.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for the reply. The ECG did come back ok but I have made an appointment to see my GP for peace of mind.

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Very good.