GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) Studies revealed 16% of patients report signs of heart palpitations to their primary care providers.

The sound of a healthy heart is something Dr. Jeffrey Senfield, a cardiac electro-physiologist at Bon Secours St. Francis, said he hears often. At times, he told 7NEWS, the hardest working muscle in our body can beat out of sync. It’s a condition commonly known as heart palpitations.

“Palpitations are very common. Most of the time they tend to be pretty benign but sometimes in some patients, especially with some high-risk patients, it can be very concerning and it’s a very good reason to seek medical care,” said Jeffrey Senfield, M.D.

According to the National Library of Medicine, palpitations are one of the more common complaints patients present to primary care providers, cardiologists, and even emergency departments.

Doctors said each patient has a different experience. Some people describe it as a rapid pulsation, while others said it feels like their heart skips a beat or even flutters in their chest.

“Just about any patient I see, and most healthy patients will probably have a few. It’s just some people have a lot more than others,” said Senfield. “A lot of folks can have palpitations no matter where they are in life, but usually you see patients that are a little bit older in age that have palpitations.”

Generally speaking, doctors said anyone can experience heart palpitations regardless of age.

However, Dr. Senfield said he tends to see it more often in patients in the 60-75 age range. It’s a condition that can result from genetics or be triggered by other factors.

“I think that certain spicy foods, certain cold foods can be a trigger, most definitely stress can be a trigger of this as well,” said Senfield.

While medical professionals said palpitations are commonly mild, there are several indicators that raise concern.

“I think that it’s important for patients to seek medical care if they are concerned at all. If they are concerned that their heart is racing and they don’t understand why, that’s a great reason to see a doctor; but especially those patients who might be suffering really concerning symptoms… so, chest pains with moving, shortness of breath of breath with ambulation, patients who become lightheaded or you know also those who might have passes out,” explained Senfield. “I would not only seek care but I would see urgent care in some of those situations.”

Doctors said a series of tests can be run to determine the best steps to take to support your health. They also recommend getting good exercise, maintaining a healthy diet and adequate sleep, along with several other best practices.

There are several treatments for heart palpitations, including medical for more serious conditions. Doctors recommend consulting with a doctor for best treatment options.

To submit a health topic for our ‘Ask the Expert’ series, click here.