old woman with racing heartbeat

My heart is racing, am I at risk of a stroke?

Racing heart beats (palpitations) come in many forms “flutter / skip beats / heart is jumping out of chest / skips + stops/ all over the place”. It may be fast and slow, regular or irregular or mixture of all.

Racing heartbeat and related symptoms

Patients may also have symptoms of shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and swollen ankles.

Common causes of a racing heart

Heart problems are more likely in smokers, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, family history of heart / stroke problems, high cholesterol.

Diet can affect palpitations such a fizzy drinks, chocolate, cheese, alcohol and smoking.

Action to take and treatment

Patients with palpitations should have pulse checked with doctor. They will need an ECG, heart monitor and possibly a stress test, echocardiogram to look for cause of problem.Treatment includes avoiding triggers like too much chocolate / alcohol; taking tablets to slow heart rate and sometimes electrical shock treatments such as cardioversion or ablation to get rid of problem.

In many cases treatment of palpitations lies in reassurance and knowledge that nothing serious is going on.