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What does it mean when your heart skips a beat?

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Quick Answer

The heart may skip a beat as a reaction to stress, low blood sugar, anemia, acid reflux, anxiety, nicotine, low potassium or panic, notes the Harvard Medical School. The sensation is known as a heart palpitation and happens to everyone at some point. It is generally not a serious concern.

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Full Answer

Harvard Medical School explains that many people have difficulty pinpointing the exact cause of a heart palpitation. The sensation usually occurs sporadically and simply indicates a small hiccup in the heart's natural rhythm. For this reason, heart palpitations are tricky to diagnose in a medical facility unless they occur while a patient is with a doctor. Heart palpitations also manifest as rapid heart beat or a short-lived pounding in the chest. These occurrences are all quite common, and unless they are accompanied by other distinct symptoms, it is unlikely that random and infrequent heart palpitations signal a serious health complication, notes Harvard Medical School. Symptoms to watch for are chest pain, dizziness and difficulty breathing. A doctor may notice additional heart abnormalities, such as murmurs, when listening to a person's heartbeat through a stethoscope. Blood work can reveal vitamin or mineral deficiencies that can contribute to an irregular heartbeat. In more serious cases, a doctor may administer an electrocardiogram or order a stress test to diagnose underlying health problems.

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