Harvard Health Letter

A racing heart: Cause for concern?

Heart palpitations are very common. They can be caused by many things, such as caffeine, stress, or thyroid problems. Palpitations that appear as a fleeting symptom and generally require no evaluation. Palpitations that last for more than a few seconds to minutes or are associated with lightheadedness or passing out should be evaluated thoroughly by a doctor. Sometimes the cause is an abnormal heart rhythm or a leaky heart valve. Sometimes palpitations are the result of another condition such as anxiety or low blood sugar. Treating the underlying condition can often resolve the palpitations.
To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »