Make Sure You Don’t Miss A Beat

Ryan Seutter, MD

Sometimes irregular heartbeats can be triggered by caffeine consumption or stress. In fact, nearly everyone has extra heartbeats that go unnoticed. These palpitations take place in the upper chambers of the heart.

However, palpitations originating from the lower chambers of the heart are a warning sign and are associated with sudden death. These are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the heart.

“Sudden arrhythmias often point to an underlying problem with the heart,” said Ryan Seutter, MD, a cardiologist who specializes in heart arrhythmias at Bon Secours Heart and Vascular Institute. “It serves as a warning of an impending heart attack, a weak heart or high blood pressure.”

Dr. Seutter recommends that all heart palpitations be evaluated. However, if palpitations are accompanied by dizziness, chest pain or shortness of breath, you should have them evaluated right away. “Some people are more sensitive to their heartbeat and notice changes that are not serious,” said Dr. Seutter. “But it is good these people are paying attention to their bodies – they sometimes identify a life-threatening problem.”

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