Heart Palpitations in Women: Is It 'Just Anxiety,' or Something More?

November 6, 2014 5:13 PM

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Do you ever feel like your heart has skipped a beat or is pounding, racing, or doing flip-flops? Most of the time these sensations, called heart palpitations, are harmless and merely bothersome, but sometimes they can signal a serious, possibly life-threatening arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm). Women -- who are at higher risk than men for certain dangerous arrhythmias, and subsequent stroke in some cases -- are often told that their palpitations are "just due to anxiety." But even though they can be triggered by anxiety, it is important for doctors to rule out any dangerous arrhythmias before dismissing the palpitations as only the result of worrying.

Unfortunately, heart palpitations are extremely common. They differ from one person to the next and can vary with a woman's age and hormone levels.

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