Stress, anxiety and the consumption of stimulants such as caffeine or nicotine are frequent causes of heart palpitations, according to WebMD. Although heart palpitations are frightening to experience, they are usually harmless and go away on their own.
Other potential causes of heart palpitations include hormonal changes, taking cold or cough medications with a stimulant such as pseudoephedrine, or using an inhaler medication that contains a stimulant, according to Mayo Clinic. In rare cases heart palpitations are a symptom of a more serious heart condition such as an irregular heartbeat or an overactive thyroid gland. Doctors recommend seeking medical attention if heart palpitations occur with chest discomfort, pain, severe shortness of breath, fainting or severe dizziness.