Risk Factors for Palpitations & Atrial Fibrillation

Have you ever felt your heart skip a beat or your heart rate race due to an emotional moment, or maybe just too much caffeine? Nearly everyone has. However, if the issue is recurring or there’s no obvious cause, seek help from a specialist. The Garnet Health cardiology team, conveniently close to home in Orange and Sullivan counties, is equipped to diagnose and treat the cause of heart palpitations, including atrial fibrillation and other heart conditions.

Several factors can increase your risk of heart palpitations, including:

  • Strenuous exercise 
  • Hormones
  • Intense stress, anxiety or panic attacks
  • Stimulants, such as caffeine and some medications
  • Thyroid disorders

Sometimes, palpitations are a sign of atrial fibrillation (also called AFib), a potentially dangerous arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that by 2030, over 12 million Americans will be affected by AFib. A wide variety of risk factors are associated with AFib, including:

  • Age
  • Certain medications
  • Diabetes 
  • Genetics
  • Heart disease or defect 
  • High blood pressure
  • Lung disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Viral infection

At Garnet Health, our cardiovascular specialists are experts in diagnosing causes of palpitations and atrial fibrillation and providing effective treatments to manage symptoms and restore normal heart rhythm. We blend this exceptional care with a commitment to restoring your best health, compassion and extensive experience using advanced technology and minimally invasive techniques.

Characteristics of Palpitations & Atrial Fibrillation

Heart palpitations and atrial fibrillation are characterized by a feeling that the heart is:

  • Fluttering
  • Pounding 
  • Racing
  • Skipping beats

In most cases, heart palpitations only last a moment, happen infrequently and are not cause for concern. When your heart is in AFib, however, the irregular heartbeat is persistent. These symptoms, which should be taken seriously and immediately alert you to seek care, include:

  • Fainting
  • Fatigue 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness

 Left untreated, atrial fibrillation can lead to: 

  • Cardiac arrest 
  • Heart failure 
  • Stroke

Diagnosing Palpitations & Atrial Fibrillation

To accurately diagnose palpitations due to atrial fibrillation, doctors at Garnet Health use advanced cardiac diagnostic testing technologies and techniques, including: 

  • Cardiac event recorders that collect data for several days or weeks, such as Holter monitors and transtelephonic monitors
  • Echocardiograms, which use sound waves to create a detailed image of heart structure and function
  • Electrocardiograms (EKG or ECG), which record the electrical signals of your heartbeat
  • Electrophysiology studies to chart electrical activity inside the heart
  • Stress tests, such as treadmill and tilt-table testing, to study abnormal heartbeats that result from exercising or standing up 

Treatment for Palpitations & Atrial Fibrillation

The most appropriate treatment for palpitations or atrial fibrillation depends on the underlying cause and severity. Options may include: 

  • Medications that regulate heart rate
  • Devices that control heart rhythm, such as pacemakers or implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICD)
  • Cardiac ablation, a procedure that restores normal function by destroying abnormal tissue inside the heart
  • Surgery to repair damaged nerves interfering with normal heart rhythm

Cardiovascular Specialists Near You

Garnet Health’s cardiovascular specialists offer compassionate, comprehensive care for heart conditions such as palpitations and atrial fibrillation. Find a primary care doctor or call 845-333-7575 to learn more about your options.

Find expert care for palpitations and atrial fibrillation in Orange and Sullivan counties at Garnet Health, with convenient locations in Middletown and Harris, NY.

Cardiac Diagnostic Testing

Cardiac Diagnostic Testing

At Garnet Health, we offer state-of-the-art cardiac diagnostic technology in Middletown, Harris and Callicoon, NY.

Learn More
Cardiac Rehabilitation

Cardiac Rehabilitation

Find comprehensive, compassionate cardiac rehabilitation care for heart attack, heart surgery and other heart-related issues at Garnet Health.

Learn more