Heart palpitations are the sensation of your heart beating very fast, irregularly, or abruptly stopping for a short time. This can feel like an uncomfortable fluttering in the chest that you are able to notice.
When these sensations come on quickly and unexpectedly, it’s called “paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia” (PSVT). Although this is usually just a temporary event, it can trigger anxiety or alarm for those experiencing it. It’s prudent that you make a point to see your heart doctor. Singapore has some of the best heart clinics in various strategic locations so, you really shouldn’t find it complicated finding a good heart doctor to have you checked.
When the episodes last longer than 24 hours, and there’s no identifiable cause, it’s labeled as “atrial fibrillation.” Atrial fibrillation is often experienced as rapid and irregular pulse rates. It may be accompanied by fatigue and breathlessness. Normally, an adult heart should beat between 60 and 100 times a minute.
Atrial fibrillation is dangerous because it may lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other complications. To detect atrial fibrillation as early as possible, you should have your pulse taken regularly by a medical professional. If you notice an irregular or rapid pulse, see a doctor right away who can check for the condition.
When to See a Heart Doctor for Heart Palpitations?
It’s best to meet with a cardiologist if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms of heart palpitations:
- Pain in your chest or shoulders: You should see a doctor immediately if this is accompanied by nausea, numbness, fatigue, cold sweats, clammy skin, and/or shortness of breath.
- Recurring heart palpitations that are causing you anxiety or alarm: If your heart palpitations are causing you stress, then it’s important to meet with a specialist who can help determine the cause. They’ll most likely recommend further heart tests if they suspect cardiac issues.
- Heart beating very fast (over 100 beats per minute) for more than 10 seconds: If your heart beats more than 100 times a minute for ten or more seconds, then you should see a heart doctor as soon as possible. This could indicate an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
- An irregular pulse: If your heart rate varies from 60 to 100 beats per minute and it’s not due to exercise, illness, medication, stress, or stimulants such as caffeine, then you should speak with a specialist about your symptoms ASAP.
Anxiety is normal when experiencing palpitations, but it’s best to have them checked out by your heart doctor in Singapore first. In the vast majority of cases, they’re harmless.
What Tests will the Doctor Perform to Determine the Cause of your Palpitations?
To diagnose the exact cause of your palpitations, a cardiologist can run various heart tests. These tests include an electrocardiogram (EKG), Holter monitor recording, heart ultrasound, and echocardiogram.
Your heart doctor in Singapore will choose which test is appropriate for you based on your symptoms and medical history. You’ll also need ambulatory or continuous cardiac monitoring if you have frequent episodes of palpitations that worry you or your healthcare team.
During these tests, you’ll wear a 24/7 Holter monitor device that automatically records any abnormal heart rhythms. The machine works by sensing when there’s an irregular heartbeat and then relaying that information to the monitor.
A medical professional can review this data later on. Depending on your symptoms, you might wear a 24/7 Holter monitor for up to two weeks (or longer). This will help you feel more relaxed because knowing what’s causing your heart palpitations takes away the worry of wondering if anything serious is going on with your ticker.
If you have frequent or ongoing palpitations, you’ll also likely be fitted with an implantable loop recorder (ILR). It’s like a pacemaker, but it’s called an “implantable loop recorder” because it continuously monitors your heart rhythm activity instead of just delivering electrical impulses when needed.
The device is usually implanted under the skin near the collarbone and can be easily accessed by a doctor when necessary. However, the device doesn’t deliver any treatment or electricity to your heart rhythm – it merely records what’s going on with your heartbeat in case anything abnormal develops over time.
If you have symptom-free episodes of palpitations after a few months of wearing an ILR, then you’ll probably be prescribed a follow-up Holter monitor instead. Please note that if your doctor prescribes an ILR for frequent episodes of palpitations, you should consider seeing a specialist cardiologist just in case there are any cardiac issues that need further investigation.
During an echocardiogram procedure, sound waves will be used to create moving pictures of your heart while it beats so the cardiologist can see how it looks. The ultrasound waves are non-invasive, so they don’t have to break the skin.
They’re just used to create images that can be displayed on a monitor for your doctor to inspect. You’ll need to lie very still during this procedure, but there should be no pain involved at all, only pressure as someone presses firmly against the area where you feel your heartbeat.
It’s never pleasant having multiple tests performed on your heart because each one might increase your anxiety level slightly, but if they offer peace of mind, then it’s well worth it in the end. Sometimes doctors will perform more than one test at the same time because the results combined provide better information about what’s going on with your ticker.
How is Heart Palpitations Treated, Depending on the Cause?
Firstly, let’s start with healthy living tips that everyone can use to reduce their risk of developing heart palpitations. These suggestions might not eliminate the problem altogether, but they’ll certainly help you feel more relaxed about what’s causing your heart to flutter like a hummingbird.
- Eat a well-balanced diet low in sodium (salt) and fat, especially saturated fats.
- Be more physically active during the day – take short walks after meals.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and smoking.
- Reduce stress (e.g., avoid family arguments).
Everyone is different, so you might find that taking up yoga or tai chi relaxes you and improves your health in general. You might also find that certain fruits or vegetables trigger your heart palpitations (e.g., grapefruit, oranges, bananas), so you need to remove them from your diet and replace them with healthy alternatives (e.g., apples instead of oranges).
Of course, if your doctors determine through testing that your heart palpitations are being caused by cardiac issues, then your treatment options will depend on what’s causing the problem.
- For instance, if you have a hiatal hernia, it can be dealt with using medication or surgery so that food doesn’t bypass part of your stomach anymore.
- If you have coronary artery disease, then special medications might help reduce the effects of heart palpitations.
- You may also be prescribed blood pressure medication for symptomatic relief if your doctor suspects that you have benign early repolarization syndrome.
- Patients with sick sinus syndrome (SSS) might be given a pacemaker to control their heart rates.
- Other people will need a catheter ablation procedure to destroy the area of tissue that’s causing abnormal impulses in the atria or ventricles.
For some conditions, such as Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome and mitral valve prolapse, there’s no cure, just treatment for symptoms to reduce the risk of complications.
The Bottom Line
If you develop heart palpitations, make an appointment with your heart doctor in Singapore right away. They can get to the bottom of the problem and work out a treatment plan for any underlying conditions causing abnormal heart rhythms.
We specialize in diagnosing and treating all types of heart complications safely and effectively. Call us today at +6596873732 to make an appointment.
Sunrise Heart Clinic – Heart Check Up | Treadmill ECG Test | Echocardiogram
365 Sembawang Cres, #01-02, Singapore 750365
+65 6235 1137