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What are Common Causes of Palpitations and Fatigue?

By Amanda Piontek
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Heart palpitations and fatigue can be caused by a number of health conditions. Palpitations are characterized by the feeling of irregular or missed heartbeats, while fatigue results in a sensation of being worn down and out of energy. While these symptoms can indicate an underlying heart condition, they can also be caused by hyperthyroidism and other thyroid and adrenal gland conditions. Anemia and vitamin deficiencies might also include symptoms such as palpitations and fatigue.

The heart muscle normally maintains a regular, rhythmic beating in the chest. Occasionally, the heart can deviate from its rhythm, beating abnormally fast, slow, or out of sync. These irregular heartbeats result in a fluttering or a racing feeling, a sensation that can be disturbing or uncomfortable for the individual. Fatigue is a symptom that often accompanies heart palpitations. Although fatigue is similar to symptoms such as weakness or sleepiness, it is truly defined by a lack of energy or motivation, and a feeling of exhaustion.

An individual experiencing palpitations and fatigue could be suffering from an underlying heart condition. Atrial fibrillation is a disorder where the chambers of the heart beat erratically. This chaotic beating can result in an inadequate flow of blood throughout the body, and might be accompanied by low blood pressure and feelings of fatigue. These same symptoms can indicate a serious condition such as chronic or acute heart failure, where the heart is no longer capable of pumping an adequate amount of blood to meet the body's needs.

Heart conditions are not the only reasons behind palpitations. Problems with the endocrine system, including the thyroid and adrenal glands, can also lead to an uncomfortable chest sensation. Hyperthyroidism is a condition where excessive thyroid hormones cause a multitude of discomforts, including weight loss, irritability, diarrhea and fatigue.

The adrenal glands are another part of the endocrine system that can malfunction and cause heart palpitations. Adrenal fatigue is reported to be a mild form of adrenal insufficiency, manifesting symptoms that include body aches, weight loss, palpitations, and exhaustion. The existence of adrenal fatigue as a medical condition is debated by professionals, and an individual experiencing these symptoms should contact a physician for a clear diagnosis.

In addition to insufficiency in the cardiovascular and glandular systems, heart palpitations and fatigue can indicate vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Anemia is a condition caused by too few red blood cells or hemoglobin in the body, and can lead to palpitations, extreme fatigue, and shortness of breath. A common cause of anemia is an inadequate amount of iron. Likewise, vitamin B12 is an important vitamin found in meat and dairy products, and insufficient intake of this essential nutrient can also lead to many of the same symptoms. In the event that vitamin and mineral deficiencies are causing these troublesome sensations, the addition of supplements can help treat and correct the problem, and return the body to optimal health.

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Discussion Comments
By anon948821 — On May 02, 2014

I get my heart palpitations too. They are fast, especially at night. It makes it difficult for me to lay down. Also at the point of the palpitations, I feel stomach aches and am unable to do anything for myself. Then during the day the palpitations are off and on. What could be my problem?

By fBoyle — On Jan 21, 2014

I had palpitations and fatigue for a short time last month, but my situation was a bit complicated. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and constant tiredness is a major symptom of the condition. After I was diagnosed, my doctor put me on synthetic thyroid hormone medication. For the first few weeks, I experienced heart palpitations as a side effect of the drug. My doctor said that this is common. Thankfully, the side effect went away after two weeks.

By fify — On Jan 21, 2014

@ZipLine-- No, heart palpitations and body fatigue can definitely occur together, although it might not be too common.

I have high blood pressure and I do experience palpitations with fatigue from time to time. When my blood pressure is higher than normal, I can have tachycardia and palpitations. I take my medications when this happens and my blood pressure eventually returns to normal, but I feel very tired after all this. It's tough on the body.

By ZipLine — On Jan 20, 2014

It seems like heart palpitations and fatigue would not occur together. I get heart palpitations when I have anxiety. I don't feel fatigue though, I just feel wired.

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