Heart palpitations can make it feel like your heart is fluttering, beating too quickly, or as if it’s skipping beats. If you experience regular or frequent heart palpitations, you should seek medical attention with an expert cardiologist like Pankaj Lal, MD, at Capital Cardiac Care in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Dr. Lal diagnoses the cause of your heart palpitations and provides customized treatment. If you live in Montgomery County, call or make an appointment online today to learn more.

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What are heart palpitations?

Heart palpitations are the feelings of a quick, fluttering, or pounding heartbeat. You may also feel like your heart is skipping beats or flip-flopping in your chest. It’s also common to feel your heart palpitations in your throat. In most cases, heart palpitations are harmless, but occasionally they indicate a more serious heart condition.

What causes heart palpitations?

There are a number of different causes of heart palpitations, including:

  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Exercise
  • Caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants
  • Hormonal changes during menopause, menstruation, or overactive or underactive thyroid
  • Heart arrhythmia
  • Atrial fibrillation

When should I see a doctor about heart palpitations?

You should make an appointment to talk to Dr. Lal about your heart palpitations if you have a personal or family history of heart disease, or if your palpitations become frequent and increase in intensity. You should also talk to Dr. Lal if you experience symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness with your palpitations.

How are heart palpitations diagnosed?

Dr. Lal uses a variety of diagnostic tools to identify the cause of your heart palpitations. He orders blood work to check for signs of conditions like diabetes or thyroid issues that can cause an irregular heartbeat. Dr. Lal may order any number of tests, including:

  • X-rays
  • Ultrasounds
  • Echocardiograms
  • Electrocardiograms (EKGs)
  • Stress tests
  • Holter monitoring

What is Holter monitoring?

A Holter monitor is a battery-operated portable device that measures and records heart activity. The monitor is small and has several wires with electrodes extending from it. The electrodes are attached to your chest and back.

You wear a Holter monitor for between 24-48 hours. The information gathered helps Dr. Lal diagnose heart conditions. It also helps Dr. Lal see if treatment is working, or if further testing or procedures are necessary.

What happens if my heart palpitations are a sign of a serious heart issue?

If Dr. Lal diagnoses you with a heart condition, he offers customized treatment plans to improve your health and decrease your risk of a serious cardiac episode. Treatment usually includes a combination of lifestyle modifications, medication, and cardiac procedures to restore a normal heartbeat.

If you’re concerned about heart palpitations, call or make an appointment online today.