Always head to the doctor’s office if you experience a prolonged, racing heart rate or a skipping heartbeat.

Any changes to the heart’s rhythm that last more than a few days indicate an acute heart problem, says the German Federal Association of Resident Cardiologists. It can mean an infection of the heart muscle or a problem with a heart valve.

Dizziness or exhaustion also point to problems with the heart’s pumping.

But there might be harmless causes too. Stress, strong physical or mental pressure and psychosomatic problems are all possible causes, as are the consumption of coffee, tea, alcohol or nicotine. Removing those factors can often do much to relieve the symptoms.

Many of the problems that require treatment can usually be brought under control with medication.

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