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Q. What causes heart palpitations?

Answered by
Dr. Amiya Kumar Chattopadhyay
and medically reviewed by Dr. Hemalatha
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 17, 2020 and last reviewed on: Jan 22, 2020

Hi doctor,

I am an active 30-year-old female with health and generalized anxiety. For the past 4 days, I have been experiencing heart palpitations. Sometimes it feels like a small flutter, as if my heart misses a beat. Other times, it feels like an intense pounding that lasts for hours. I experienced these approximately 7 years ago when I was first diagnosed, but have not felt them in a long time so I am utterly terrified. For reference, I do not smoke or use drugs, and I also workout 5-6 times a week (cardio, running, and weight training).

I went to see a walk-in clinic doctor who listened to my heart and said he thought it was all anxiety and suggested I take medication for my anxiety. I had chest x-ray, EKG and blood tests and everything was normal. Honestly, I am just terrified that I am about to have a heart attack every single time I feel these palpitations. Can these palpitations really be caused by anxiety? And should I be worried or just wait for them to pass? I ran yesterday and today in spite of them and did not feel any palpitations while I was exercising. I only seem to feel them at rest or when lying in bed. Please give me some peace of mind. I am going out of my mind with worry every time I feel these.



Welcome to

I do not think from your symptoms that what you have said that you have terrified about to have a heart attack. It is not as your symptoms happen at rest, not during exertion. To evaluate for palpitations you do Holter monitoring. I think your symptoms mostly due to anxiety. You maintain a diary and find out what are the things which disturb you or precipitate your anxiety.

Advice for stress management:-

Note down and try to work out to correct it or ignore it. Walking for 30 minutes daily. Breathing exercises for 10 minutes twice daily. Do yoga for 30 minutes daily. You are young so join any sporting activities you like. You can listen to soft or romantic music. Spend quality time with your relatives and close friends. Share your problem with them. Take the help of a counselor to overcome anxiety you are suffering. All these things will definitely give you relief. Review after two months.

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