A normal heart rhythm means your heartbeat is regular and has the right rate. But if your heart rhythm is abnormal, it may cause your heart to beat too fast, too slow, too early, or irregularly. This common disorder of the heart is known as a cardiac arrhythmia that affects the rhythm or rate at which the heartbeats.
Arrhythmia means your heartbeat is irregular. You may feel like your heart added or skipped a beat, or you might not observe anything as some arrhythmias are silent. Arrhythmia or heart rhythm problems occur when electrical impulses that regulate your heart rate and rhythm don’t work properly. It may feel like a racing or fluttering heart and may be harmless. However, they may cause serious and even potentially fatal symptoms if they result from a damaged or weak heart.
The severity of heart arrhythmias can vary tremendously. When interferes with blood flow to your body, they may damage your lungs, brain, and other vital organs. If left untreated, arrhythmias may be life-threatening. If you feel anything unusual with your heartbeat, consult the renowned heart specialist to get the best cardiovascular disease treatment and adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Types of Arrhythmias
The heart contains four chambers and each half of the heart comprises an upper and a lower chamber. The two halves create two pumps and electrical signals coordinate the activity of the heart muscle to ensure proper pumping of the blood in and out of the heart. Any interruption in these pathways can lead to an irregular heartbeat.
Arrhythmias can be classified into three types based on rate, origin, and regularity. They include:
Bradycardia – This is a slow heartbeat in which a resting heart rate is less than 60 beats per minute. A slow heart rate means your heart is not pumping enough blood. This may cause you to have one of several bradycardias including sick sinus syndrome, and conduction block or heart block.
Tachycardia – It refers to a fast heartbeat in which a resting heart rate is greater than 100 beats a minute. There are two general types of tachycardias, which include:
- Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) – It can be any arrhythmia that originates above the ventricles in the AV node or atria. It is usually identified by a burst of accelerated heartbeats that can last for a few seconds or can be chronic. The most common SVTs are atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter.
- Ventricular Tachycardia (VT) – Ventricular tachycardia occurs with abnormal electrical signals in ventricles to people who have had heart-related problems. Without treatment, it may increase the risk of developing ventricular fibrillation that is the primary cause of cardiac arrest.
Premature Heartbeats – Although it may feel like your heart has skipped a beat, a premature heartbeat is an extra beat. These extra beats are caused by stress, stimulants or strenuous exercise, and can trigger a long-lasting arrhythmia.
What Causes Arrhythmias?
People can have an arrhythmia even if their heart is healthy. There are many factors that can cause your heart to work incorrectly, including:
- A current heart attack
- Heart disease
- Changes in your heart muscle
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Scarring of the heart
- Smoking or drug abuse
- Drinking excess alcohol or caffeine
- Mental Stress
- Blocked arteries
- Thyroid disorder
- Certain medications and supplements
- Sleep apnea
Symptoms of Arrhythmias
Arrhythmias may not cause any signs or symptoms, so you may not even know you may have one until your doctor identifies it during a routine examination. Your cardiologist may check your pulse or conduct an electrocardiogram to find an irregular heartbeat. The symptoms may depend on the type and severity of arrhythmias. Some noticeable symptoms of arrhythmias may include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Fainting or lightheadedness
- Pounding in your chest
- A racing or slow heartbeat
- Palpitations or fluttering in the chest
- Weakness or fatigue
Diagnosis & Treatment for Arrhythmias
Along with physical examination and complete medical history, doctors may perform certain tests for making the correct diagnosis of cardiac arrhythmias. The tests may include electrocardiogram, Holter monitor, stress test, event monitor, echocardiogram, electrophysiology study, tilt table test, and cardiac catheterization.
There are different treatment options for different types of arrhythmias.
Treatment for Bradycardia – Your cardiac specialist may advise implanting a pacemaker to treat this type. This device is placed under the chest to help control irregular heartbeats. The pacemaker sends electrical impulses to the heart muscle to beat at a normal rate.
Treatment for Tachycardia – The cardiologist may use various methods to treat this type of arrhythmia, including ablation therapy, medications, maze procedure, vagal maneuvers, implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), coronary bypass surgery, ventricular aneurysm surgery, and medications.
If you do have symptoms of arrhythmias? Don’t panic! Visit Artisans of Medicine to get the best cardiovascular disease treatment in Brooklyn, New York. Our skilled doctors can help control and eliminate the symptoms to help you lead a healthy life.