Heart Rhythm Disorder (Arrhythmia)

Heart arrhythmia, also known as irregular heartbeat, could be harmless or it could mean a serious problem that needs medical treatment.

What is Heart Arrhythmia?

Heart arrhythmia is a generic term for an irregular heartbeat. Depending on the arrhythmia's duration rate, degree of regularity, and its effect on blood flow and blood pressure, it may be either insignificant or life-threatening.

There are four main types of heart arrhythmia, with subdivisions within them, but they all refer to the heart beating either too fast or too slow.

Heart Arrhythmia Symptoms

Some heart arrhythmias give no symptoms and may only be discovered during a routine examination. But for arrhythmias that do cause symptoms, the following are likely to be experienced:

  • Palpitations
  • Missed beats, skips, thumps, butterflies, fluttering or racing
  • May come in single or multiple beats
  • May be felt anywhere from the stomach to the head
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

Heart Arrhythmia Diagnosis 

An irregular heartbeat can be diagnosed through:

  • Blood tests
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Heart monitor 

Causes of Heart Arrhythmia

In many cases, the cause of heart arrhythmia is unknown. Some known causes include heart disease, stress, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, diet pills, and decongestants in cough and cold medicines.

 Heart Arrhythmia Treatment

There are various treatments for heart arrhythmia, some of which require changes you can make yourself.

Medications for Heart Arrhythmia

  • Antiarrhythmic drugs — control heart rates
  • Anticoagulant or antiplatelet therapy — reduces the risk of blood clots

Lifestyle Changes To Prevent and Manage Heart Arrhythmia

  • If you're smoking, you should stop
  • You should avoid activities that bring on your irregular heart rhythm 
  • Limit or stop using caffeine
  • Stay away from stimulants used in cough and cold medications

Surgical Procedures for Heart Arrhythmia

  • Permanent cardiac pacemaker insertion
  • Pacemakers, defibrillators and cardiac implants

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