published Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Ask a doctor: Are heart palpitations serious?

Dear readers...

To submit a question for a medical doctor, email it to Clint Cooper at

Q: I'm 69 and have had heart palpitations for years. Should I be concerned about this

A: Palpitations are heartbeat sensations that feel like your heart is pounding or racing or even skipping beats. Palpitations may be felt in your chest, throat or neck. They may be caused by nicotine, caffeine, stress and anxiety, but often no cause is found. They are often not serious. However, palpita-tions can represent an abnor-mal heart rhythm (arrhyth-mia), which is more likely if you have known heart disease, have significant risk factors for heart disease, an abnormal heart valve or an electrolyte abnormality -- for example, low potassium. You should be seen by your physician to determine the cause of your palpitations. It is helpful to bring a record of how often you have palpitations, when they happen, how long they last, your heart rate at the time of the palpitations and what you are feeling at the time. This may help your doctor diagnose the seriousness and underlying cause of your condition.

-- Dr. David Salerno, The Chattanooga Heart Institute; member, Chattanooga Hamilton County Medical Society

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nmajca said...

A: No, you shouldn't be've already lived longer than the average man :)

Ok, now in a more serious tone:

If your palpitations are caused by arrhythmia, then you should definitely go to have it checked. Unfortunately, from my personal case I can tell you that sometimes doctors are of no help. Quite contrary, they misdiagnose your condition and/or treat it with wrong medications. You can check my story here:

Although the difference between us is about 40 years, I think you can still benefit from diet change.

September 6, 2011 at 10:09 a.m.
Tricia012 said...

I don't pretend to be a doctor so I still think it is a good idea to see a cardiologist. However, I was having heart palpitations and my doctor did nothing. I went on a site and there were literally dozens if not hundreds of people saying that they were having them as well and their doctors were writing it off to too much caffiene or anxiety. My doctor was doing that as well and I can tell you it wasn't a fun time for me.

I heard from my sister that B6, B12, and Folic acid were good for heart health so I figured I would give it a try. Well, I haven't had those heart palpitations since. I also take fish oil. I have heard that the way grains are processed now, that we don't get the b vitamins that we used to get so maybe this is why these vitamins have helped me. I had taken a B complex prior to that but it did not help. So please try this combination of vitamins and see it it helps.

God Bless and Good Luck.

October 11, 2011 at 6:52 a.m.
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