12 Causes of Heart Palpitations

Goal No More Heart Palpitations

This post is a bit of a departure from my usual sort, so if you’re a regular follower of my blog, please bear with me as I talk about something near and dear to me: my heart (and yours).

I first started having heart palpitations in the 7th grade. Forty years later, I still have them. Worse than ever. But over the last four decades, I’ve gained a lot of wisdom and a quiet (if not begrudging) acceptance of my situation.

This post is broken into 3 parts. First is My Story because, over the years I have found great comfort in knowing that I am not alone. And maybe, in hearing my story, you will find comfort, too.

In Part 2 of this post, I’ll share some possible causes of heart palpitations.

And lastly, in Part 3, I’ll share what works for me. I’m not a doctor and I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, but I have learned a few tricks along the way that have helped ease the distress and anxiety that comes along with persistent heart palpitations, and as a result, have lessened the frequency and severity of them. My hope is, these tips will help you too.

My Story

Forty years after my first “episode,” I can still remember the moment with alarming clarity. I had been working on the Presidential Youth Fitness Award Challenge and had just finished running. As soon as I sat down on the gymnasium floor to rest, my heart felt as though it was skipping rope. All by itself.

I was certain I was having a heart attack, and would die on the dirty floor in my sweaty, smelly gym uniform.

In the first of what would be a long string of visits to the doctor over the years, I was told that I was suffering from anxiety. And that there was nothing wrong with my heart.

I was thirteen years old! And while being a (shy and unpopular) teenager is by its very nature an anxiety-producing time in one’s life, even I knew that what was happening to me was more than just anxiety.

Over the years, the episodes continued, as did my worry. With each and every bout, I was certain I was going to keel over and die. As I grew older and the episodes became more frequent, my worry turned into full on panic.

The panic and anxiety eventually took on a life of its own. I began to fear going places where I had previously had an episode. Eventually, all I ever wanted to do was stay home. Alone. I began isolating myself from people mainly because having an episode when I was around someone freaked them out.

I remember a time in the early 1980’s when I was working at the University of Chicago. I was on the train platform in the evening after work when my heart got “stuck” in fast mode. Though I’d been standing still, it felt as though I’d been sprinting, and nothing I did would slow it down.

The fear was overwhelming and I recall falling to my knees. Someone called an ambulance and I was rushed to the hospital. When I arrived, my heart was beating at a rate of over 200 beats per minute. After receiving an injection of something from the doctor to slow my heart, it began to calm down.

Over the years, I’ve been to the emergency room more times than I care to remember. Every time I was sent away with the some variation of this admonishment: “There is nothing wrong with your heart. You need to learn to get a grip.”

Eventually, I began to think I really was crazy. That I had somehow manufactured the symptoms. Even the people in my life who loved me got tired of hearing me complain. I felt like the little boy who cried wolf.

And so I sought the help of a psychiatrist, who put me on heavy medications that made me feel like a zombie. The good news was that, when an episode would strike, I did not feel fear. In fact, I felt nothing at all. Ever. It was not a fun way to live. Eventually I stopped taking the medication.

Years later (I think it was around 1992), I moved to Napa, California and found a new doctor who promptly referred me to a cardiologist to have my heart checked out. It had never occurred to me over the years to see a heart specialist. I was so relieved to finally be going to a doctor who would, God willing, have some answers.

The first thing the cardiologist did was order a stress EKG. I stepped on the treadmill, hooked up to wires, when my heart began to do its thing.

“There!” I exclaimed. He shook his head. “I don’t see anything,” he said. I could not believe my ears. “But it’s skipping all over the place. You have to be able to see something!” Again he shook his head, and this time he wore a look of pity on his face. But it wasn’t the look on his face that upset me. It was the words that came out of his mouth.

“You’re crazy. There is nothing wrong with your heart.”

I heard nothing else he said after that. Instead I tore the electrodes off my body, leapt off the treadmill and grabbed my clothes. I dressed as fast as I could and hustled out of his office. When I got in my car I cried and raged and slammed my fists on the steering wheel.

And my heart palpitations got worse. A lot worse. I was going to die. Right there, in the parking lot of my cardiologists office. I just knew it. And wouldn’t that just serve him right!?

Once I had collected myself, I drove to the public library to get a book for my (then) boyfriend, who was building a house and asked me to find a book on heating and air conditioning systems.

That’s when the miracle happened.

I found the section I was looking for and began thumbing through the books. I pulled one off the shelf and another book tumbled to the floor. I bent down to pick it up and the hair on my arms stood at attention. It was called Confronting Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome.

On the front cover was a list of symptoms associated with this heart condition: Awareness of Heartbeat, Fluttering in Chest, Rapid or Forceful Heartbeat, Panic or Anxiety Attacks, and so on. I turned the book over to read the back cover blurb. I immediately began to cry. There, in bold letters, it said:


I raced to the checkout counter, then sprinted to my car. It was the night before Thanksgiving and I sat in my car long after the library had closed and read the book cover to cover by the dim light of my interior dome light. The following day I called my mom and asked her if I could borrow enough money to go to Alabama. To the one and only (at least then) Mitral Valve Prolapse Center at the Alabama Heart Clinic.

At the clinic, I was run through a series of tests including an echocardiogram of the heart to check for Mitral Valve Prolapse, and a “tilt table” test to check for dysautonomia, both of which make up the condition called Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome. I tested positive on both.

I’ve included more information about Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome in the next section, so I won’t go into that here, but what I will say here is that I believe that most (if not all) people who suffer from recurring benign heart palpitations (which includes “extra” or skipped beats, tachycardia or anything that makes you feel as though your heart is not beating properly) also suffer from this syndrome.

Since I am not a doctor, I cannot tell you for sure that this is true. It’s just what I believe. If you’re a sufferer of heart palpitations, read the section below, check out the resources, and decide for yourself.

12 Causes of Heart Palpitations

What Causes Heart Palpitations Anyway?

For most of my life, my “episodes” would last a couple of weeks. If I was lucky, I’d go months in between episodes. But two years ago, after undergoing four surgeries for breast cancer (while simultaneously going into menopause), they started and, until recently hadn’t stopped, even for a day.

Below I’ve compiled a list of what I believe to be the 12 most common causes—or triggers—of heart palpitations.

  1. Magnesium Deficiency – According this article put out by Natural News, an estimated 68 to 80 percent of the United States population is deficient in magnesium, an essential mineral which, among other things is responsible for maintaining a normal heart rhythm. But before you rush out and buy some magnesium, be sure to read Part 3 of this post, where I’ve included information on the exact type of magnesium you should buy (tip: the stuff you buy at the drug store, and even your local vitamin store is not the type you should use).
  1. Low blood sugar – I’m prone to low blood sugar episodes. They typically occur just before lunch and also before dinner. If I don’t eat on time, I start to feel sweaty and jittery, and if I don’t eat immediately, my heart will bounce like a basketball in my chest, and it’s very hard to get it back under control.
  2. Caffeine and other stimulants – caffeine is a known stimulant and will immediately cause me heart palpitations. Additionally, there are “hidden” stimulants in many beverages, such as taurine, guarana, ginseng, etc. Even green tea has caffeine. Beware of these ingredients if you’re sensitive to stimulants. Sometimes I also find that eating sugar/chocolate in the evening will cause palpitations.
  1. Alcohol – Quite a number of people have told me that drinking alcohol will cause them heart palpitations. I’ve had this happen on occasion myself, but usually only when I’m drinking something on an empty stomach.
  1. Dehydration – even mild dehydration can cause heart palpitations. Keep water with you always, even during the night.
  1. Not enough sleep – My heart palpitations are always worse when I’m not getting enough sleep. Unfortunately, lack of adequate sleep has become an epidemic in our fast-paced over-achieving society.
  1. Stress and anxiety – Over the years I’ve noticed that my heart beats like a champ during stressful periods. It’s afterward, when the stress is over, that it will start skipping like a maniac.I also suffer from periodic anxiety or panic attacks, which almost certainly will bring on the heart palpitations, or worsen them if they occur during an episode.
  1. Overstimulation – I’ll explain more about this in Part 3 of this post, but basically, the more amped up (excited) I get, the more likely I am to have a bout of palpitations.
  1. Sitting or lying in the wrong position – For most of my life, lying on my left side was sure to bring on palpitations. Now, however, it’s my right side! I also find that sitting in a reclined position can also bring them on or make them worse.
  1. Getting sick – I can usually tell when I’m coming down with something. When my body is fighting a virus, my heart palpitations will be terrible for a day or two before I start to experience symptoms.
  1. Stopping exercising too quickly – I frequently find that if I don’t take the time to cool down after an intense workout—if I simply stop and sit down to rest—I will often experience palpitations.
  1. Menopause – It is estimated that 25% to 40% of women, even those who never had heart palpitations before, will develop them in menopause (sometimes even during peri-menopause).

Why Me?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably made some variation of the following statement: But my husband/sister/friend constantly drinks caffeine (never sleeps, is constantly stressed, etc) and never gets heart palpitations. Why do I? It’s not fair!!

First, I agree. It’s NOT fair! But then, life isn’t fair. With the exception of number 1 above (and possibly number 12, I think of the items list above more as “triggers” rather than actual causes of heart palpitations.

I believe that most people who suffer from palpitations also suffer from Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome (MVPS).

Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome – The True Cause of Heart Palpitations

What is Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome (MVPS)? MVPS consists of two separate but related disorders: Mitral Valve Prolapse and Dysautonomia.

Mitral Valve Prolapse

The mitral valve is the main valve in the left chamber of the heart. In someone with mitral valve prolapse (also known as floppy valve syndrome, systolic click murmur syndrome, and Barlow’s syndrome, named after the doctor who discovered the disorder in 1966), the two valve flaps of the mitral valve do not close properly, allowing a small amount of blood to leak backward through the valve.

It is estimated that MVP affects 10-25% of the entire population, though most people who have it are completely unaware of it and their health is not affected.


The autonomic nervous system is composed of two systems; the parasympathetic and the sympathetic. It controls virtually all bodily functions including respiration, heartbeat, blood pressure, and digestion. When this system is out of balance it can cause a myriad of symptoms, including heart palpitations, panic attacks, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and more.

This combination of symptoms is known as MVP Syndrome. MVPS is not life threatening. It can, however, be lifestyle threatening (as I eluded to in My Story above).

It is estimated that 40% of people with MVP also have dysautonomia.


Diagnosis of MVPS can be tricky. Normally, a diagnosis of MVPS is made by physical examination, a careful medical history, and an echocardiogram. In addition, other tests may be performed to confirm the diagnosis of dysautonomia, such as a tilt table test.

However, such tests can be limiting. For example, MVP does not always show up on an echocardiogram. Thus, MVPS is a “clinical” diagnosis, and may be based on a patient’s history of symptoms as well as the patient’s family history. (It’s interesting to note that the vast majority of people with MVPS do have a strong hereditary link.)

In my case, while I was affirmatively diagnosed with MVPS at the Alabama Heart Clinic, since that time, two echocardiograms have shown I do not have a prolapsed mitral valve. However, with a strong family history of MVPS (my mother had it, even though she too was diagnosed with an “anxiety disorder,”) and two of my sisters have it as well.

With the volume and frequency of symptoms I have experienced over forty years, I have no doubt that MVPS is the correct diagnosis for me.

Symptoms of MVPS include, but are not limited to:

  • Heart palpitations (“extra” or skipped beats, tachycardia, or other feeling that your heart is beating irregularly)
  • Fatigue (this is the most commonly reported symptom)
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Panic or Anxiety Attacks
  • Chest Pain or Tightness
  • Dizziness, Shakes and Jitters
  • Sleeping Difficulties
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

For further information about MVPS, check out the following resources:

A Word about Cardiologists:
In my experience, I have yet to find a cardiologist with a thorough understanding of MVPS, which apparently translates into a general lack of sympathy for those who suffer the symptoms of the condition. Perhaps this is because MVPS is not a life-threatening condition.

Therefore, the burden falls on us, the sufferers, to not only understand the condition, but also to find ways to help ourselves deal with and manage our symptoms. In Part 3 of this post (which will air next week), I will share 12 Ways to Ease Heart Palpitations (Naturally).

In the meantime, if you are a fellow heart palpitation sufferer, I’d love to hear your story. Drop a comment below or email me at: Suzanne@suzannevince.com.

51 comments on… “12 Causes of Heart Palpitations”

  1. Wow – that’s a lot to absorb. Good for you for doing your research and not giving up. You definitely are NOT crazy my friend.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Sniff, sniff. This was a very emotional post for me. Thanks for reading all the way through and stopping by to offer your support!!

  2. I bet it’s very emotional for you Suzanne. I can’t imagine what you’ve been through. I applaud you for your efforts to find a solution. You know your body best. And unfortunately, some doctors just don’t listen. Oh, you’re find. Sure. You know something’s wrong. You know how you feel. So glad you’ve gotten some help and relief! Some scary stuff indeed.

    Thanks for sharing your story. You will help many others with this or similar problems. Keep up the good work and stay healthy! ((Hugs)) 🙂

  3. Continued.
    I’ve fought many of the same problems as you. Palpitations, IBS treated for UC, blood sugar crashes – (caused by artificial sweetners – made be black out and sever shakes). Had a massive heart attack that killed the left side of my heart. After 3 months in the University of Michigan hospital I had a high speed pump (L-VAD) and a micro value installed as well as a defibrillator /paceaker before going home; almost 3 years ago. I wear a computer around my waist 24/7. Hoping to get on the transplant list now after being 5 years cancer free. Just wanted you to know about the artificial sweetners, a lot of people experience simular problems as well from it also.

    • Hi John. Thanks for sharing your story. You’ve been through so much! Congratulations on passing the 5 year mark on your cancer. That’s wonderful! I wish you the best with regarding to your heart. I will continue to keep you in my prayers. Love, Suzanne

  4. I’m right there with you. I ended up at Mayo for diagnosis after 30 years of basically being told I’m just anxious and ignore it. Magnesium has worked for me for years, but after menopause I had to resort to a beta blocker. It has been helping a great deal. But I look forward to reading your next blog. I love the book you mentioned, and have shared it with my Mom who also has suffered for years, and she is 85 now. So it doesn’t shorten your life, but it can suck the joy out of living.

    • Hi Linda,

      It’s a shame that more doctors don’t have a thorough understanding of MVPS. Today, there is no excuse for it! I’m so glad the beta blocker is working for you. I’ve been on one for a couple of years but I don’t think it’s helped my symptoms. In my next pause I discuss Magnesium (taurate). It seems to be a miracle for a lot of people. The jury is still out for me.
      And you’re spot on when you say it can suck the joy out of life. The trick is to try not to let it!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story. I wish you the best!

  5. Nicole S.

    I have MVP also and I’m positive I have Dysautonomia as well. I have a doc who, while I’m thankful he diagnosed me correctly, just keeps telling me, “It’s benign, it’s benign.” My symptoms have worsened after having my second child and I have palpitations almost daily. I swore I was going to die right after I had my baby. The lack of sleep and physical strain my body had been under was making my symptoms so much worse. They’re better now, but I do still have palpitations regularly. I also find that caffeine, sugar, seasonal allergies, food allergies, etc. all contribute to my symptoms also. But aside from watching my diet, I don’t really do much to alleviate my symptoms. I figured I just had to live with it. I’ve purchased several books on MVP but haven’t been able to read them yet b/c of said baby. 🙂 I’m looking forward to your next posts & thank you for sharing your story!

    • Hi Nicole,

      I can’t even imagine how exhausted (for lack of a stronger word) you must’ve been after the birth of your child. I always have worse symptoms when I’m tired and with a baby to care for, I don’t know how you’re managing! Hopefully my next post will give you some ideas that will help. Take care of yourself and here’s hoping you find some relief from symptoms.


  6. Hi Suzanne,
    Really enjoyed reading the above. Totally agree with everything you wrote. When I was 23 and pregnant with my first child my heart started “missing beats” which is what it felt like. Of course I thought I was dying as you do! Many, many visits to the doctor, ECG etc etc and told nothing wrong. Well that child is 29 now so yes nothing wrong to actually kill me but boy has MPVS been a big part of my life! After so many worrying years of symptoms in varying levels I did learn to live with it to some degree but when it was bad I could feel my body on alert and adrenalin rushes continuously.
    I remember a few months after my father had a very bad heart attack (my son was only about eight months old) I remember having this overwhelming feeling that I was going to die! No heart palpitations just feeling of panic and I rang my mother saying something was wrong and get me to the doctor! ECG and talk with Doctor with reassurance that I was ok and of course here I am. Doctor suggested I do meditation – too stressed for that! LOL Anyway, over the years I learnt to live with these weird symptoms but about ten years ago I was having a really bad time of them and got a referral to a well respected cardiologist in our area. Well at last! He said, the MPVS is why you are aware of your heart and why it does the unusual heartbeats or what they feel to me. Not to worry, only mild and total Reassurance that I wasn’t going to die. Well how wonderful it was to have this knowledge! Now I had a name for it I then researched all about it and it was so comforting to know others are out there. I brought a book on the subject through the MPVS Society which has been wonderful.
    Anxiety has been a major issue for me over the years and I continue to fight that one. It’s so silly as I am actually a very confident person who to the outside world appears to have it all together! How funny! My closest friends and of course family know better but knowledge is power and the mind is so powerful that I am living proof that you can and will live with MPVS and Dysautonomia.
    It’s so complex that I could keep writing for hours but just wanted to share a little and I look forward to part three!

    • Hi Robyn,

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story. We are kindred spirits! My husband was shocked (and saddened) to read my story. I’ve never shared much because it’s too painful to talk about, but I think it gave him a greater appreciation for what I’m going through now with them. Like you, on the outside I am very strong and put together. Inside, though, sometimes it’s another story. It’s hard not to get frustrated (angry and sad) when the symptoms strike hard. I’ve mastered the ability to put a fake smile on and move about my day. And I focus on doing things I love, like writing, which helps so much.

      Anxiety is a big one for me, too. Since I started meditating and doing yoga, I’ve been better able to manage it, but I do carry Xanax with me for those times when I can’t get it under control. I’m not big on taking meds, but if they can help improve the quality of life, then why not. I hope the next installment will offer a few ideas you haven’t thought of, but my guess is that after so many years you’ve probably tried almost everything. It’s just a matter of learning to live (and thrive) with MVPS.

      Take care,

  7. Wow, this is like reading my life through your words….wow. Thank you for courageously sharing your story for others and especially for me. It seems no matter how many times I hear “you are not going to suddenly die from this”, it still feels like it will happen in the moment. Unless someone experiences the symptoms over and over, thay have no clue what we’re feeling.

    I was told for so many years “it’s all in your head.” Well, I knew my body and I knew the doctors were wrong. I finally received a MVP diagnosis after 15 years, but all they want to treat are the symptoms…with medication, which makes me feel worse. Thankfully I have learned to control my symptoms through diet and exercise.

    All the best to you and keep spreading your story!

    • Hi Rebecca,

      It is impossible for someone who doesn’t have the symptoms to understand what we’re going through, and to sympathize. It’s something we do privately. I’m glad you finally got a diagnosis, but I’m sorry for all you go through with this syndrome. Unfortunately, it’s one the doctors don’t seem to understand (translation: care about), so we have to take matters into our own hands. Thank goodness for the internet! Medications can help, but I too have found that diet and exercise (and a few other tricks I’ll share next week) help as well. One thing for sure, it’s made me mentally tough. I’m sure you can relate to that too.

      Thanks for sharing your story.

  8. This sounds to me like you the very same thing that I had from the time I was about 17 years old but it had nothing to do with mvp. I had so many episodes of the very same thing and every heart dr I went to said my heart was perfectly fine. Until I changed my family doctor and he sent me to an electrocardiologist.
    Turns out I had wpw or wolf Parkinson’s white syndrome a short in the electrical system of the heart . I had a four hour radio cathoder oblation and the froze the nerves in my heart that caused the problem no more fast heart rates and no more fibralations . I am 58 years old now had it done at St. Louis university hospital they went through the arteries in my legs .
    Just a little food for thought.

    • Ivan,

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience. The symptoms are very similar between MVPS and Wolf Parkinson White’s, though it seems that a rapid heartbeat is most prominent in WPW, where skipped or extra beats are most common with MVPS (though I have had periodic bouts with tachycardia over the years). I so glad you found someone to diagnose you properly and that you were able to have a procedure to correct the problem, vastly improving the quality of your life no doubt.

      Thanks again for sharing your story.


  9. As your too-suffering sister I tend to forget how debilitating the episodes can really be. My worst episode was 2 months long and was triggered by chemotherapy and aggravated by a concurrent onset of full menopause caused by the chemo. I had to stop working for awhile. I share so many of your episode triggers, but happily not caffeine sensitivity. Thank you for being such a strong voice on this subject. I’m sure it will help newly afflicted folks!

  10. You are not crazy. Im 60 and have suffered with this most of my life. Im on beta blockers now that sometimes help and other times dont help. Im not sure the answer. Prayer is helping me. Meditation used to help me but then it stopped for some reason. I wish you the best in controlling this condition. We each have to find our own paths to sanity.

  11. Sharlene

    This is also my story. I was diagnosed when I was 23, with MVP. I also struggle with anxiety and IBS. I have had to deal with this for all these years and I am now 58. I am on Metoprolol, a beta-blocker daily, and Xanax as needed. Sometimes I am able to deal with this, and other times it has been more difficult. One year ago I was diagnosed with SVT, and PVC’s although they tell me it is not life threatening. My PCP is a Cardiologist, and I also see an electrophysiologist. It sure feels life threatening when it happens. I see a counselor during times that I struggle to deal with this syndrome. I too do not want to venture far from home at times. I am a nurse, and this is still scary for me. I just pray a lot, and have faith that I will continue to stay strong and deal with each day as it comes. Thanks for sharing your story.

  12. I found your blog while trying to find ways to stop my palpitations. Mine started thanks to being on 60 mg. Prednisone for just 5 days, but my doctor did not taper me off of it. He thinks it is impossible for me to be going through steroid withdrawal syndrome since I took it for so short a time. I have been suffering many other symptoms, as well, over the last two weeks since the last dose of that awful drug, however, the palpitations, my blood pressure and anxiety and thinking I was going to die took me to the ER on Monday of this week. There I was given saline, Benadryl, since it was a “possible” reaction, and Potassium because my level was a bit low and that will affect your heart. I saw my GP two days later, on Wednesday if this week. She actually looked at my list of symptoms as I told her my nightmare story. I even informed her that I thought it could all be from being on Bactrim DS for 10 days at the same time I was on the Prednisone. The side effects mirror each other immensely for both drugs. As I was going through the events, she looked up at me and gave me a knowing look and without me mentioning I thought it was the Prednisone, told me it was most likely causing all of my issues. Hallelujah! Someone listened! I had been right all along! She told me it can weeks or months for my body to reset itself. I am at the end of week two, so I hope I am done with this experience soon! She took me off the Benadryl and put me on Clonidine for my blood pressure. Unfortunately, I think it is causing insomnia and palpitations, too, after two doses. I will call my Gap tomorrow and see if I can stop that medication. In the meantime, I am reading and very grateful for your posts! Sorry to be so long winded and not MVPS related, but maybe my experience will help someone else and let them know they are not crazy. Bless you all!

    • Hi Charlisa,

      I’ve had similar problems with Predisone, and any drug that is a stimulant (Benadryl). You probably do have MVP but didn’t become aware of it until now. Your doctor is correct, it can take time for your brain to send the signal to your heart to calm down. You should read part 2 of my article for ways to help calm the brain (meditation, etc). Anxiety is a big part of MVP and is so common when we experience palpitations. We are constantly worrying that they will come back. Hang in there and let me know how you’re doing.


  13. Nadine Bourg

    I know this is a two year old post but while reading I couldn’t help but to start balling I’ve never had any health problems before but a few years ago I started having palpitations singles and like u I was told anxiety over the last few years they came more frequent all day long day after day I to felt and still feel like any moment I’m gonna drop dead and I went to see my PCP he told me it was benign and I shouldn’t be feeling them and I wore a monitor for 2 days it was a relief to find out I actually had 1400+ palpitations in one day only because now I know I’m not crazy because like you my family and friends are sick of hearing about my heart my heart my PCP put me on a beta blocker and at first I felt awesome I was still having one or two flutters a day but life changing to 1400 I had lost my life I couldn’t clean with out feeling like I was gonna die a year later there still present through the med and my relief has gone from awesome to hey something is still wrong I feel like I’m covering it up living with it living like this can’t be it can’t be just deal or try to ease I might not be crazy cause something is wrong but it sure is driving me crazy and I can’t deal anymore I am so glad to see this post and I have a Dr appt coming up and will force them to run these test I can’t believe they haven’t done it yet but anyways thank you so much for sharing your story to know someone else knows what I’m going through and dealing with I’m scared I don’t know what episodes are but mine are always there lurking and I’m ready to be done with them I’m 28 years old and I shouldn’t have to live like this

    • Hi Nadine.

      Thanks for reaching out. I would love to talk to you privately about this. I found a solution that has helped me tremendously. I’ll send you an email and we can talk there.

      Take care.

    • Rena Treviño

      I too have been having them everyday. It’s making me tired and weak. Glad to know I’m not the only one.

  14. Hi Suzanne,

    I found your post while desperately looking for answers or something that will give me some hope. I have been suffering from palpitations for almost 6 years now. I am 33 years now. They used to be sporadic. I could have them only every few months at the beginning. Unfortunatelly now they are happening very often and I am slowly loosing myself. I also went to number of ER visits only to be told it is nothing or anxiety or dehydration or benign. But as we all know it doesn’t feel like that. Every time I think I am going to die. The fear is so strong I just cannot shake it off. I am very anxious at the moment. The palpitations woke me up at 5 am this morning. I have 8 month old son and since he was about 3 months my palpitations gone much worse and frequent, now almost every day. I feel like I am loosing it and getting depressed. I am scared I won’t be able to take care of my son. They sometimes happen while I am holding him and I am terrified. I believe I may have MVPS as over the years I had other various mysterious symptoms. When I was 21 years old a doctor told me he can hear a click and that it is MVP but lots of young people have it and I should not worry. At the time I came to see him for some mysterious dizziness and feeling weak. Since I read your post I read now a lot of resources on MVPS. I really would like to get a real diagnosis as my loved ones are fed up with me. Even though my husband is trying to be understanding he has had enough of me complaining and our life always being shadowed by my symptoms and my fear. Even though I believe my mother is suffering from MVPS all her life she is not willing to acknowledge it and thinks I am weak. If you found any other ways of coping in the past 2 years apart from the ones you published please let me know. How did you cope with raising kids and stress related with that and making sure they are not affected by your fear?

    Thank you,

  15. Thanks for your story suzanne.this is truly an eye opener,I now that am not crazy.every doctor I go to they say that am fine but I know how and what I’m feeling and been living with. thanks again.

  16. I felt this for the last 3 months. I have a chronic stress for as long as I can remember, I do not sleep well and sometimes I am very conscious about my heart beat. On last June I had an echo done, the doctor said I shouldnt be worried or anything, he said its just mvp. Since then, My anxiety escalates, and suddenly just 3 months ago, I had a sharp stabbing pain in my heart and it happens twice a month. However, after that I can feel occassional skipped beats and flutter and then it gets much more frequent, on top of that I feel heaviness in my chest when I’m not laying down,I’ve had numerous ecgs done, only to be told that its my anxiety and my ecgs are great and so on. I came to a second cardiologist and have a stress test on treadmill, she said that everything was good. However the palps dont stop, so I came to a third cardiologist and he checked my fingers and performed general test using stethoscope and ecgs and he said I was fine. And the last time I came to an endocrinologist, and the blood test confirmed that I have a vitamin d defficiency and slightly low hb. I’ve tried usibg magnesium oil, at first it works wonders and my palps dissapeared for the whole month also the uneasiness feeling in my heart. However when my period starts, it came back worse than ever, and the magnesium oil doesnt help at that point also I feel my heart beats erratically though the pulse dont go higher than 85 bpm. I am very anxious about my symptoms, and my family is tired having me complained. I am so confused and I dont know what to do with the palps the chest heaviness., Aside that i also suffers from numerous panic attacks over the years. The attack will come for several weeks and then go for many years, now I get it daily. Its very hard to see the pattern is it the flutters and skipped beats trigger my anxiety or is my anxiety what caused them. I am feeling like i am being choked and i am so tired for feeling like i have to come to another doctor for this. I noticed last month that I had a dizziness when the palps followed with tachycardia happened, but this month no tachycardia only uneasiness around my heart, palps, anxiety, heaviness in my chess. I also wanted to ask, how accurate the heart rate apps on iphone in detecting our ecg? It sent me into a panic mode whenever i saw something that is not normal. I am afraid.

  17. Just wanted to write to all of you! I’ve had skipped beats and rapid heartbeat since I was a toddler. I get really sick to my stomach, and my heart goes crazy fast. When I was a child, I would faint. I’ve been to various cardiologists throughout my life, and have had various diagnoses, including mvp. Here’s what helped and my opinion only after all the research and experiences.
    I believe it can be caused by any of the following:
    Erratic thyroid
    Acid Reflux
    Food intolerance like MSG, wheat, etc
    Vitamin/mineral deficiencies
    Here is what helped: one drop of clear potassium iodide in the morning in a little water, taurine, magnesium, the spectra cell test, the alcat test, 3 tablespoons of olive oil a day, b vitamins and supplement called cardiotropin by standard process.

    Honestly, I gave up on medicine. It’s terrifying to have this, and I never felt like I could get an answer or any real help. I’ve been to the best doctors anywhere, over the years! Hope this helps someone! I think that you have to get to the real root of the problem. For me, I think it is food allergies and an erratic thyroid.

  18. Madeleine

    Hi Susanne

    Thanks for sharing your story.
    I’m glad I’m not alone. I’m 51 and went through a lot of stress and got really anxious. My symptoms are like I can hear my heart beats so hard especially in the night, when laying down which makes me uncomfortable sleeping even if I’m tired. I’ll need to sit up with pillows in my back to get some sleep. Now I have palpitations that have been here for more than a week for every single day. I don’t have a PCP, and I’m so scary to know that I could have a life threatening condition as I have a family with young children who need me.
    I came across your post while I was trying to find tips to stop palpitations, and I’m so thankful. I’ll appreciate your help!


    • Hi Madeleine.

      Thanks for sharing a little of your story. I’m sorry to hear how uncomfortable and fearful you are. Believe me, I understand!

      After a 6 month 24/7 bout of them (worst in 40+ years of them), I found relief through mindfulness meditation. Reply to this post if you’d like to hear more and I will email you privately.


      • Hi Suzanne

        Pls pls pls help me!

        I am at my wits end with these skipped heartbeats, also get a hard Thud and adrenalin rush feeling in my chest when they happen.

        Life has been really tough and I don’t know what to do or where to turn.

        Pls help me with any advice?

        Many Thanks

        Much love


        • Hi Suzanne

          I am still struggling with this horrible palpitations…. I have been patiently awaiting your reply?

          Please if you have any advice??


  19. Cheryl Levy

    Mine definitely have gotten more frequent with the onset of perimenopause (I’m 50 and felt the first ones in about 7th grade, too). And I know I suffer from so many of the things in your list — sleep, chemical imbalances, anxiety (how could irregular heartbeat every few hours to every few minutes sometimes not cause anxiety?) Hoping my next Dr appointment can help. I’m trying to be aware of the imbalances and avoid triggers, but who knows what the actual trigger is any given day? Hugs to everyone going through this, I know how scary it can be!

    • Hi Cheryl,

      Thanks for sharing. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reach out to you. I will email you privately.


  20. I came across this post searching for any site with pvc sufferers that could relate to me and when I read this I literally felt like you were explaining my life exactly!!! I’ve had heart palpitations for 9 years, I’m 32 years old now and I’ve been searching for answers the entire time. I’ve never found someone who shared my experiences the way you do!!! I’ve had many tests done- echos, stress tests, ekgs, holter monitors and they’ve all come back healthy. However what I’m feeling every single day is awful!!!! I have heart palpitations daily and I recently had my 3rd child, I’m 12 weeks post partum now and I have never had palpitations as bad as I do now. It’s seeriously horrible! I even went to the Er last week as they’ve been scaring me so much and my anxiety level has gotten so bad from them that I fear going anywhere. I fear doing my daily chores around the house because I get them so often 🙁 unless you experience them yourself no one can truly understand what we go through. All I want is to be free of them and live each moment to the fullest with my children and I try so hard but it’s so hard to absorb the fact that they’re something i have to get used to. And I still haven’t 9 years later! Thank you so much for posting this because it gave me a reassurance. I purchased the book you recommended so I’m eager to start reading it! I also have another cardiologist appt Thursday for another echo with bubble study and holter monitor again because of the worsening symptoms. Thank you for writing this post, I reread it often lately to help my anxiety level and it helps calm me some. I pray yours are better!!! Thank you so much again ❤️

    • Hi Amanada,

      Thanks for writing. I’m so sorry you’re going through all of this…I remember the trips to the ER…so scary. I will email you privately so we can discuss more.


    • Cain Neal

      I’m not a doctor… but you aren’t crazy! Have them check your iron levels… not just the anemia test, but the ferritin level test. If you have acquired iron deficiency, it can also cause palpitations and anxiety. Hang in there. I suffer from unexplained palpitations as well.

    • Laurin Phillips

      Omg your story sounds so similar to mine! My palpitations started after I had my first daughter 14 years ago and I’ve had them ever since. I did my run of ER visits thinking I was going to die. I had another baby 8 years later and didn’t really have any problems when I was prego with her until after…then they came back with a vengeance. Just found out I’m pregnant again and my IBS is flairing making my heart go crazy. It’s the worst when I lay down and wakes me up every night. I’m freaking out that I’ll have them bad for the next 9 months and then after the birth too ;(. I did have test run way back 14 years ago and they said benign PVCs and anxiety but they’ve gotten so much worse over the years. A couple things I’ve noticed that make mine really bad…stomach issues, GERD, and hormones (always worse when I start my period). I wonder if I also have MVPS? I also have chest pressure when I’m laying down which freaks me out. Now that I’m pregnant I can’t take my beta blocker or my Xanax so I don’t know what I’m going to do.

  21. I came across this website trying to get some help. After having palpitations on and off for years (I’m 63 now), they started again last March. Went on vacation for 2 weeks in June, no problem. Came home they started back. I am so tired of this. My cardiologist says I have PACs. He is sure it’s not Afib. He says I heard nothing wrong with my valves and no murmurs, but I still have these palpitations. I know I have triggers like flatulence, red wine, lack of sleep, stress, MSG in food, the list goes on. I currently take Norvasc for blood pressure, progesterone (menopause – another trigger) and I’m taking 125mg of magnesium taurate (which I don’t think is enough) was taking 250 of magnesium oxide but switched after reading this article. I’m just so sick of what seems like a never ending issue. I have no shortness of breath not any pain. It’s so frustrating. I just don’t believe this happens without a cause. Thank you for listening.

  22. Thank you for your blog post! I have been having irregular heartbeat almost nonstop for over 9 months. I was diagnosed with supraventricular tachicardia about 25 years ago and a mitral valve prolapse. I’ve taken meds for my heartbeat and blood pressure that have worked well until recently. I saw a new cardiologist who said he didn’t see any tachycardia in the EKG. I said I could deal with periodic racing, but I couldn’t deal with the constant skipped beats. He doubled my medicine. (Metoprolol) I skip about every 4 to 40 beats. All the time. I. Am. So. Tired. Of. It. I go back to the doctor on Monday. Wonder what he will say. Its like having nonstop hiccups or a nonstop eye twitch.

  23. Thank you for posting this. I found your post while I was searching for “Benadryl” and “palpitations.” I was on Doxycyline (I’m allergic to Penicillin) for 2 weeks due to a bad sinus infection. My ears had been stuffed so I’d taken Benadryl here and there to ease the symptoms. I started having heart palpitations, which I’d never had before (I’m 41). I stopped the Benadryl and the palplitations went away within a day or so. I figured maybe it was interacting with the antibiotic in some way, since Benadryl never caused this type of symptom in me (I’ve taken it before for allergies). I finished the antibiotic several days ago, had allergies bugging me again one night and decided to take 1 tablet of Benadryl. I woke up the next morning to find the palpitations had come back. Not only that, but the antibiotic had brought on my PMS symptoms early, including anxiety which has made things a lot worse. It’s been a day since I took the Benadryl and I’m hoping the palpitations will subside soon. They’re not so bad at the moment and not constant, but whenever I feel them I start worrying that there’s something wrong with me and I’ll have a heart attack. I’m so worried my heart has been irreparably damaged by the antibiotic, the Benadryl, or both. 🙁

    • Hi Jess. My apologies for taking so long to reply to this! I hope you’re feeling much better by now. I’m not a doctor, but I’m quite sure that neither the Benadryl or the antibiotic will damage your heart. Please feel free to send me an email if you’re still having concerns. Best, Suzanne

  24. Hi Suzanne, thank you so much for sharing your story. I suffer from palpitations a lot it started a year in. Half ago, i started to feel them when my body is resting, and at times it gets so bad as if I’m starting to panic when i start to read on my symptoms and causes it gets worse. Your story has brought a lot of relief to my situation thank you god bless 😊

    • Hi India. Thank you for your comment on my post. I’m sorry you’ve been experiencing heart palpitations. Have you tried sitting quietly and focusing on your breath for a few minutes (meditation)? That’s the only think I’ve found that works for me. If you’d like more information on that, send me an email at suzanne@suzannevince.com.


  25. Hi Suzanne. I came across your post. I found that my heart palpitations is related to MVPS. I would like to know how you manage your palpitations. Also about the book that you referred people.

  26. Wendy L Schmidt

    Dysautonomia is a tricky business. I did get the palp at 24. A common age for women to find MVP. And then it was years of panic disorder and anxiety. Finally I did the tilt table test and they found I also had Dysa. That also causes IBS and other things depending on what is going on in my life. One thing that saved my life was Biofeedback. That actually stopped the panic attacks. By the time I was finally doing a bit better my husband had had enough and left because I couldn’t do some things he liked to do. You’d have thought that would have caused the panic disorder to start up again but it didn’t. I think living with him just added to my guilt and he made me feel like I was crazy. His leaving was hard. But it also sort of freed me from the guilt. I still have palp. and some anxiety but no guilt about it anymore and I’m actually a lot saner them most people in the world.

  27. I’m not sure if you still check/read these posts. But I’ve com across you and your story almost 3 weeks into palpitations every day. They at first didn’t bother me, I have experienced the odd one then they go again. But one evening I had so many my bottle went. I took myself to a&e (England) They ran bloods, did an VERY brief ecg and sent me on my way after refferal for a 24hr ecg. (Yet to have)
    I also have extremely bad health anxiety and since these palpations I cannot shake the dread/fear/anguish that I feel daily. It really struck a chord when you said you sometimes cried after the palps. I have done that alot this week. I feel like I’m absolutely gonna die, leave my children without a mummy and it must be sinister. My doctors have told you don’t need to be in an anxious situation to experience them. Just an anxious state of mind 🤷🏻‍♀️
    I have every symptom you’re describing. I’m not sure if it’s recognized over here – I’ll research now. Do you have any recommendations on how to keep calm after each palp? It’s already effecting my ability to parent and my partner doesn’t understand my “irrational” fears.
    The thought of this being a very long term thing makes me so sad. I don’t know how I’ll manage these and health anxiety. I’ve been prescribed a very small dose of valium. I think they’ve made them lighter and less frequent, but no idea what this means. Or if it’s a coincidence. I’m questioning everything. When the valium wears off, will I be right back at the start – probably? Does valium effect the heart. You see, I have so many questions, but I’ve spoken to the doctor’s 4 times this week – I feel like their gonna fob me off.
    My heart broke to hear they called you crazy – biggest fear. You’re not. You’re a warrior.
    Please send any added advice. I have read part 3. Also super helpful. I’m just scared to do exercise at the moment in case I die. And I love yoga. So it’s all a bit much.

    Thanks for sharing your story. Even if it’s not mine, I have something else or we aren’t connected, I felt it and I needed it.

    Sam xxx

    • Hi Sam,

      Thanks so much for sharing your story. My heart breaks for what you’re going through, but just know that I understand the fear you are experiencing! I’m not sure if you’ve read through the other comments on this post, including my responses, but I wanted to share that when I began meditating in 2016 after 9 months of non-stop palpitations, they finally ceased. I’ve posted the link to my meditation worksheet below, so have a look, but I believe 100% that the reason why meditation works is because 1) the heart is an electrical system; 2) the brain controls the heart; 3) if you can calm the brain you can calm the heart. MANY studies have confirmed this to be true, so have a look and feel free to email me at: suzanne@suzannevince.com if you have any questions. I LOVE the Insight Timer App (it’s free) for setting up a timed meditation.

      By the way I think it’s important to follow up with a cardiologist to ensure that your condition is benign. Assuming it is, but either way, meditation is probably the best thing we can do for ourselves.

      Here’s the link (you might need to copy and paste):


      I’ll also add that you can use a mantra instead of focusing on the breath. Anything that inspires you. Something positive.

      Let me know how things go for you.


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