The sensation that the heart is beating harder or faster, fluttering, or skipping a beat is a common sign of heart palpitations, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The feeling may occur in the neck, throat or chest during a particular activity or while at rest.
Various factors can lead to heart palpitations, including stress, smoking, exercise and caffeine, states Healthline. Anemia, low blood sugar, electrolyte irregularities, dehydration and hormonal changes are also potential causes of palpitations.
Heart palpitations typically do not cause harm, and they can occur in people with healthy hearts, notes the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; however, they can indicate a severe problem if an individual experiences other symptoms, such as dizziness, confusion, lightheadedness, difficulty in breathing, or pain or tightness in the jaw, arms or chest. Palpitations accompanied by shortness of breath and unusual sweating may also signal a serious problem. Anyone who notices these symptoms or experiences more frequent or bothersome palpitations should talk to a doctor immediately.
Some of the steps a person can take to prevent heart palpitations include practicing relaxation exercises; reducing alcohol, caffeine and tobacco consumption; and identifying trigger foods and drinks, recommends Healthline. Doctors also suggest starting a regular exercise regimen, maintaining a healthy diet and taking alternative medications if certain drugs cause palpitations.