What Causes Heart Palpitations?

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The resting heart rate is the amount of times your heart beats per given amount of time. For adults, 60 to 100 beats per minute is the average resting heart rate. This range is lower for athletes, whose resting heart rates are usually 40 to 60 beats per minute. In some situations, the heart can palpitate or beat harder and faster. When this ends up happening, there are several reasons for it.


  • At rest, your heart pumps blood to the rest of your body without much effort. But when you exercise, your heart has to supply the rest of your body with oxygen-rich blood, which takes a lot more work. This in turn causes palpitations. The palpitations that occur can be exacerbated in warm, humid temperatures and during especially high-intensity exercises like sprint training. The effect of heat on the heart can also be seen in a sauna or attending a hot yoga class where temperatures often exceed 100 degrees F.


  • Products that contain caffeine are used for mental clarity, boosting metabolism and to increase energy levels. Some products that contain caffeine include coffee, tea, chocolate, soft drinks, energy drinks and various weight loss supplements. Caffeine can cause heart palpitations. Sometimes people try to increase the effect of caffeine and they mix it with other things like alcohol. This can increase the intensity of palpitations and cause hospitalization or even death.


  • A heart arrhythmia is a condition where the heart's rhythm is altered. A symptom of arrhythmias is heart palpitations. Arrhythmias can be seen in people with mitral valve prolapse. Mitral valve prolapse is a condition where the valves separating the left atrium and left ventricle do not close properly when blood pumps through the heart. In addition to heart palpitations, other symptoms include chest pain, feeling lightheaded and shortness of breath.

Panic Attacks

  • Stress can be caused from many different things. It can be job-related, caused from long work days, or the result of family issues such as divorce. When this stress gets to an elevated point, panic attacks can set in. When this happens, extreme feelings of fear and worry take over the body and the heart rate gets elevated to a point where palpitations occur.


  • Nicotine is a habit forming chemical substance that is found in tobacco products like cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and chew tobacco. The regular use of nicotine containing products is known to cause emphysema, mouth cancer, throat cancer and lung cancer. But nicotine can also have another effect on the body. When smoke is inhaled or spit from tobacco is ingested, the body gets robbed of oxygen which in turn can cause heart palpitations.

Side Effects

  • Asthma is a condition in which the lungs' airways are constricted and inflamed due to air pollutants. When an asthma attack occurs, episodes of coughing, wheezing and labored breathing can take place. To remedy this situation, an inhaler is used to stop or reduce the symptoms. However, there is a stimulant in the inhaler that can lead to heart palpitations. There are also some cough syrups that have a substance called pseudoephedrine, which can also lead to heart palpitations.


  • The hormones in the body are always changing and are very important for proper functioning. They are responsible for metabolism, body temperature regulation, mood support and sleep patterns. There are times when the hormones in the body can get thrown off. Some examples of these instances include pregnancy, menopause, menstruation and thyroid conditions. All of these situations can lead to heart palpitations.


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