Harvard Health Letter

A racing heart: Cause for concern?

Palpitations are extremely common and range from flutters to pounding sensations.

Have you ever experienced the sensation that your heart has skipped a beat or suddenly started to race or even pound? Those sensations are known as palpitations. While frightening, they're not usually a sign of something serious. "Palpitations are most often benign in nature," says Dr. Peter Zimetbaum, a heart rhythm specialist and associate professor at Harvard Medical School. Still, palpitations occasionally may be a symptom of a potentially serious condition, so it's important to evaluate them.

Causes and symptoms

Palpitations are very common. They can be caused by many things, such as caffeine, stress, or thyroid problems.

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