Why Is My Heart Racing?

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Heart palpitations, or a feeling that the heart is racing or pounding, are caused by heart disorders, exercise, caffeine consumption, anxiety and the use of certain medications, according to MedlinePlus. It is not unusual for someone with a racing heart to feel his heartbeat in his throat or neck.

The heart usually beats anywhere from 60 to 100 times per minute. In someone with heart palpitations, the heart feels like it is beating faster than normal. Medline Plus states that some palpitations are caused by participating in vigorous exercise, drinking caffeinated beverages, and using nicotine or illegal drugs. Palpitations may also be caused by panic attacks, anxiety or medications used to treat heart conditions, high blood pressure and asthma.

In some cases, palpitations are caused by an abnormal heart rhythm. Someone with an electrolyte imbalance or history of heart disease has a greater risk of developing an abnormal heart rhythm, says MedlinePlus. Heart disease, abnormal potassium levels and mitral valve prolapse are all potential causes of a racing heart.

Exercising regularly, meditating, reducing caffeine consumption and eliminating nicotine use are all ways to prevent palpitations not caused by abnormal heart rhythms or other heart problems. Medlne plus advises that someone who experiences the sensation of a racing heart should seek medical attention if the palpitations are accompanied by chest pain, dizziness, unusual sweating or shortness of breath.