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EmbraceGrace's avatar

Heart palpitations last over an hour. Is this ok?

Asked by EmbraceGrace (18points) April 19th, 2010

I’m 26 and i’ll occasionally get heart palpitations every other day or so, but it only last about a minute. Today it lasted for over an hour, which has never happened. Should i just brush this off, or is this really serious? I’ve never talked to a doctor about this, even though the short ones have been going on for years. I cant seem to find anything online to help answer my questions.

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24 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

Chest pain is not normal see a doctor…

shilolo's avatar

A lot depends on how old you are, if you have other medical conditions, if you are taking medications, are stressed, etc. and if the palpitations are associated with other symptoms suggesting inadequate heart function as a consequence. These symptoms are typically things like lightheadedness, shortness of breath or chest pain/tightness. My advice would be to discuss this with a doctor (sorry, no nurse can help). Typically, the doctor will take a careful history (things I mentioned above, and more, like family history of palpitations or sudden death) and physical exam, run some blood tests looking for things like anemia or hyperthyroidism, order an EKG and then set you up with a Holter monitor. Palpitations at a young age are relatively common, so no need to panic, but I would arrange to see a doctor as soon as you can. Of course, if the palpitations persist, definitely go get seen now.

One easy thing to do is to take your own pulse (either in your neck or your wrist). Count the number of beats for 60 seconds to get your pulse. If your pulse is higher than 100 beats/minute at rest (and especially if it is really fast, like 150–200), then you should consider getting checked out ASAP.

emergence's avatar

Panic attack? Should probably see a doctor

Pandora's avatar

I’m with @talljasperman. Not to panic you but its too hard to ask for a second opinion after your dead. Peoples hearts don’t go erratic over nothing. Best to find out what is causing it. It could even be thyroid related but your heart isn’t meant to go outside its normal rythm unless you are doing something to speed it up. See a doctor.

Rarebear's avatar

Agree with @shilolo says except instead of a Holter, which only goes for 24 hours, I’d get an “event monitor’, which you have on for a month. It’s more sensitive for picking up arrhythmias.

shilolo's avatar

@Rarebear Yeah. The cardiologists where I work always seem to start with the Holter and then go to the event monitor. Apparently it depends on how frequent the palpitations are and how many event monitors they have around. If the palpitations are daily, then the Holter is a good choice.

EmbraceGrace's avatar

@shilolo my resting bpm is 90.

cockswain's avatar

There is zero question in my mind that you should see a doctor as soon as possible. If it gets bad enough, call 911 and let the medics take you to the ER. I’m not saying this to be alarmist, I’m saying it as someone with three years experience as an EMT. Plenty of times I’ve seen someone’s wife describe a now serious event as “something that’s been going on for years.” Don’t take chances with this stuff, it can turn bad quickly (I almost said in a heartbeat)

Rarebear's avatar

@shilolo Yes, the holter is certainly easier. You’re right, it depends on the frequency. If someone comes to me complaining of daily palpitations, I’d probably start with the holter first.

talljasperman's avatar

A heart murmur maybe?

shilolo's avatar

@EmbraceGrace Do you mean your current bpm is 90 and regular (i.e. not intermittent or skipping beats), while you are experiencing the palpitations? If so, then they are most likely benign (note: sensations of palpitations are very common, and indeed represent one of the most common complaints to internists; not all palpitations, especially in a young person require emergency attention).

If you want to learn more, you can read this for general information or this for greater detail. There are some practical suggestions in there, like trying to relax or cutingt back on caffeine, smoking and alcohol. As I mentioned above, if you begin to feel worse, have a much faster heart beat, feel weak, lightheaded or short of breath, then get evaluated ASAP.

filmfann's avatar

You need to see a doctor.

I had this, and it turned out it was a caffine allergy. I was drinking a lot of iced Tea, and it was bringing hell on my insides. I now have to take beta blockers to control it.

EmbraceGrace's avatar

@shilolo 90bpm is my resting heart rate 30min after the heart palpitations. not sure if this is regular….i should keep better track of this. i work at a gym and we have a blood pressure monitor there. i recently suffered a serious head injury Feb. 28th and im always dizzy, so i can cross that off the symptoms list.

filmfann's avatar

You cannot cross anything off the symptoms list! Don’t you watch House?

shilolo's avatar

@EmbraceGrace When you feel the palpitations, take note of the time, your heart rate, and whether you notice skipped beats. Write all of this down, as well as the length of the sensations. This way, you can keep a diary of your symptoms to bring to the doctor which can be very helpful in narrowing down the potential causes. Also, while at the gym, if you feel them come on, you certainly could check your blood pressure too, and write it down. The more details you can record, the better. What is your pulse during the palpitations, by the way?

@filmfann If this were a House episode, we’d already have gone through open-heart surgery, twice….

EmbraceGrace's avatar

@shilolo i didnt take my blood pressure when i was having the palpitations, i was trying to make sure it was palpitations and not muscular twitches. it definitely was my heart, it would beat fast two or three times in a row, then stop/pause, and then beat normal for a while, and continued over and over for an hour.

Rarebear's avatar

@EmbraceGrace Did you time it when it was fast? Sorry if you already answered it.

mrrich724's avatar

I was like, “No big dea…..” WAIT OVER AN HOUR

dude, get it checked out!

ETpro's avatar

@EmbraceGrace You’ve gotten several opinions from doctors and medically trained jellies, so I will just add this. I have experienced occasional heart palpitations since my youth. It was checked out years ago. THey used a Holter monitor. It turned out to be a benign arythmia that is just mildly annoying. I’m now 66 and have never had a cardiac problem of any kind—knock on wood.

So by all means have it evaluated by a doctor. It could be something serious. If it is, it is probably quite treatable. But the good news is it could also turn out to be quite harmless.

loser's avatar

I used to get them, too. I saw my doctor and now I’m taking a medication that helps prevent it from happening. I haven’t had an attack for months. Please see your doctor.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

You need to see a doctor.

cazzie's avatar

Go see a doctor. You could have an endocrine problem. It’s a quick blood test, nothing scary. Try to relax. Stressing could make it worse, so the sooner you go to the doctor and know for sure, the better it will be for you.

My first symptom for my over active thyroid was a sped up heart rate. then I was shaky, and sweaty. I’m embarrassed to say how long I left it before i went to the doctor, thinking it was just stress and that I was out of shape. Silly thing to do. I should have gone to the doctor right away… as should you!

britannia25's avatar

I agree with most of the other posters that it would be wise to see a doctor. There are many minor things (or at least more minor than full blown cardiac disease) that could cause heart palpitations and I wouldn’t be too worried.

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