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Why am I having palpitations?

Q: I am 32 years old and weigh 80 kg. I have been having throbbing heartbeats for the last 10 years. I can feel my whole body shaking because of these strong heartbeats. I often get chest pain too. Two years back I went for a complete medical checkup including blood tests, treadmill test, ECG, CT scan of chest, MRI of brain and other tests. These were all normal. Few months back I suffered from pneumonia and recovered after 4 weeks of medication. But for the past few months the heartbeats are getting stronger. I get chest pain on and off. Can you please explain me what is the cause for the strong heartbeat?

A:There is only one cause for continuous palpitations with normal heart rates, that can rock the whole body - a leaking heart valve with an enlarged heart. This can be easily ruled out by an echocardiogram. If the Echo is normal you should be rest assured that it is not a cardiac problem. If you make a habit of counting your pulse at the wrist you can easily check if the heart beat is much faster or irregular during your symptoms. An ECG during symptoms will also give a quick diagnosis. If the ECG is normal during symptoms, you can be reassured. Hyper functioning of the thyroid can cause palpitations but these patients loose weight. You weigh 80 kgs. Anxiety is the most frequent cause of continuous feeling of palpitations. Once you have a normal Echo, a normal pulse or ECG during symptoms (palpitations) the probability that you are suffering from a cardiac ailment is extremely low and you can relax.

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