What is arrhythmia?
Arrhythmia is an abnormal or irregular rhythm where the heartbeat has become too fast or too slow.
This happens when the electrical impulses that direct and regulate the heartbeat do not function correctly. It causes the heart to beat:
- too early (premature contraction)
- too irragularly (fibrillation)
Most people will experience an abnormal heart rate at least once in their lifetime. It can feel as though your heart is running or in motion.
Arrhythmias are frequent and usually harmless, but some can lead to severe complications. When an arrhythmia interferes with the bloodstream in your body, it may damage:
- other vital organs
Arrhythmias may be life-threatening without treatment.
You don’t get arrhythmia symptoms. But the most common symptoms may include:
- feel as if your heart has skipped a beat.
- a feeling of fluttering or running through your neck or chest.
- fast heartbeat
- slow or irregular heart beat.
Talk to your doctor about your symptoms to help them effectively diagnose and treat your arrhythmia. You can also develop worse symptoms from your heart not functioning properly, such as:
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- fainting, or almost fainting
Look for medical attention right away if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
The reasons for arrhythmias can be medical, physical, emotional or genetic. Some cases are unknown.
Certain medications such as antibiotics and other medications that may stimulate arrhythmia in certain people. They may be drugs which treat:
Changes in blood flow or physical changes in the heart, such as shock scars or stress, may also cause arrhythmias. Other health problems can also be the source, including:
- thyroid disorder
- sleep apnea
- high blood pressure
- imbalance of electrolytes, such as lower levels of calcium, potassium or magnesium.
Other physical or lifestyle factors may also cause arrhythmias in certain cases. These include:
- alcohol intake
- emotional factors including anger, stress and fear.
Arrhythmias do not normally require special treatment, but you need to medically assess your assessed arrhythmia to know whether or not.
Your doctor will determine if your arrhythmias can lead to more serious symptoms or other conditions during the determination of treatment options.
You need to exercise, eat a healthy diet, and monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels when you suffer from arrhythmia. This may reduce the chance of problems like a heart attack or stroke.
If you’re experiencing rapid heart rate with no other symptoms, Your doctor may advise you to try vagal maneuvers. They can reduce your heartbeat. Vagal maneuvers consist of:
- Dip your face in cold water.
- hold your breath while you make the effort.
Additional treatments for arrhythmia include medicines and surgery.
Your doctor may administer medications to help you manage your arrhythmia and prevent illnesses such as heart attacks.
Most drugs are taken as pills, but some are taken as intravenous injections in emergency situations.
The drug they recommend is dependent on the type of arrhythmia as well as other conditions you may have. Commonly used types of drugs are:
- Antiarrhythmic drugs. They can deal with tachycardia (rapid heartbeat) and premature heartbeats. These include amiodarone, lidocaine, quinidine, and so on. However, they can lead to the inconvenient proarrhythmia side effect, which can make your arrhythmia worse or cause a new arrhythmia.
- Calcium channel blockers. Calcium channel blockers, These include amlodipine, verapamil, nifedipin and more. They can reduce your blood pressure and heart rate. They may be used on a long-term basis.
- Beta-blockers. Beta-blockers reduce your heart rate to deal with tachycardia. Beta-blockers include acebutolol, bisoprolol, nadolol, etc.
- Anticoagulants. Anti-coagulants help prevent blood clots, which can occur due to atrial fibrillation. Blood thinners like hiparine, warfarin, dabigatran, and more. An adverse reaction may be severe or internal bleeding.
Ensure you are taking all medications prescribed by your doctor and discuss the side effects you are having, especially proarrhythmia.
If medications or other treatments are not capable of treating your arrhythmia, you may need minor surgery. There are a number of implantable procedures and devices that can assist in the treatment of arrhythmia:
- Catheter ablation: When the catheter is removed, your cardiologist inserts soft tubes called catheters into your blood vessels on the right side of your heart. An electrode at the tip of one of the catheters emits radio frequency waves, heat or very cold temperatures to form a small scar. The scar tissue blocks the electric waves which lead to arrhythmias.
- Pacemaker: Your physician may implant a pacemaker during minor surgery. After doing a little cut near your shoulder, they insert little threads into your veins and put them into your heart. The wires connect to a small battery-operated generator that is carried close to your collarbone. If the generator notices an irregular heartbeat, it may send an electric impulse through the wire to help manage it.
- Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD): An ICD is like a pacemaker and can be implanted near your clavicle, sternum or ribs. This can help if your arrhythmias are very dangerous or endanger your life or expose you to a risk of heart failure. An ICD can send electrical shocks to your heart to make its rhythm normal or take your heart back if it stops beating.
Surgery may also deal with serious types of arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation.
Within the maze, your surgeon makes minor cuts on the top half of your heart to create scar tissue. Scars block electrical activity which may cause abnormalities in the heart rate.
Arrhythmia are named and categorized according to three criteria:
- rate (it’s either very slow or very fast.)
- origin (Either in your ventricles or your atria.)
In a heart that beats normally, electrical impulses follow straight paths across the heart. These signals synchronize cardiac muscle activity so that blood enters and leaves the heart.
Any disruption of these pathways or pulses may cause irregular heartbeats, leading to an arrhythmia. These can start in the sine node, ventricles (lower chambers of the heart), or atria (upper chambers).
A premature heartbeat can also sometimes give rise to irregular heartbeats.
Premature heartbeats feel as if your heart missed a beat. In reality, your normal heart rate has been disrupted by an early heartbeat, and you are experiencing an additional heartbeat between two normal heartbeats.
The sinus node uses electrical impulses to assist in controlling the rhythm of your pulse. If your sinus node fails to deliver the pulses properly, your heart can pump too slowly or irregularly. This leads to a sinus arrhythmia.
Two types of sinus arrhythmias are present:
- sinus tachycardia, when your heartbeat increases to over 100 beats in one minute,
- sinus bradycardia, when your heartbeat is less than 60 beats a minute.
Sinus arrhythmia is a type of diseased sinus syndrome, a cluster of disorders associated with sinus node.
Scarring around the sinus node due to. heart disease or a The heart attack can decrease or block electrical impulses when they pass through the heart. This may cause arrhythmia or other disorders.
Sinus arrhythmias is a common disorder among many people. But it can cause heart complications for some people.
Ventricular arrhythmia begins in the heart’s ventricles, or lower chamber (cavities).
It has two types:
- ventricular tachycardia
- ventricular fibrillation
Both may require urgent treatment, especially if you have other cardiac problems.
Ventricular tachycardia (VT) generally occurs in individuals with heart disease or heart problems, like coronary artery disease or a heart attack. It may cause a heartbeat of 170 beats per minute or higher.
VT is dangerous for longer than a few seconds. It can also result in more serious ventricular arrhythmias, like ventricular fibrillation.
Ventricular fibrillation (VF) includes short, fast, irregular and chaotic heart beats in the ventricle. These irregular electrical impulses, sometimes triggered by a heart attack, making the heart’s ventricles tremble.
When you get these types of arrhythmias, Your ventricles can’t pump blood into your body, and your heartbeat suddenly slows down. This may result in sudden heart failure and death without emergency treatment.
Atrial arrhythmias, also referred to as supraventricular arrhythmias, begin in the atrium or upper chamber of the heart. They include:
- supraventricular tachycardia
- atrial fibrillation
- atrial flutter
Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) consists of different forms of arrhythmias which begin above the ventricles. SVT are usually recognized by a burst of fast heartbeats that can begin and finish quickly.
These bursts may last several seconds or hours and may cause a heartbeat of more than 160 times per minute. The most common SVTs include:
- atrial fibrillation
- atrial flutter
If you have atrial fibrillation, also referred to as AF or AFib, your atria beat very quickly, about 400 beats per minute. The atria move so fast that they are not capable of contracting completely. Instead, they quiver, or fibrillate.
Your risk of getting AF increases after the age of 65 and if you have other health issues. AF may cause more severe problems, such as a stroke if the property is not treated.
atrial flutter (AFl), In the heart, it beats more rhythmically and regularly than in atrial fibrillation. You cannot experience any symptoms with one or the other type of arrhythmia.
Atrial flutter is more common in people suffering from heart disease, although it is less common than AF. It is also often seen in the early weeks after cardiac surgery. As with AF, the atrial flutter may be very severe or fatal.
Arrhythmia vs. dysrhythmia
Dysrhythmia is a different term for arrhythmia. Although there is a small medical distinction between the two, in general, they are used interchangeably to denote an unequal heart rate.
An electrocardiogram, also referred to as an ECG or EKG, is typically used to diagnose arrhythmia. Your doctor attaches electrodes to your chest, arms or legs, which measure and represent the electrical activity in your heart.
ECG measurements indicate whether electrical activity is abnormally rapid, slow or erratic. The test may also reveal whether your heart has increased or decreased blood circulation.
Your doctor may conduct an EKG while you are resting or exercising on a bicycle or stationary treadmill. A portable monitor may also take ECGs to verify abnormalities for a longer period of time.
There is little to no risk of ECG.
When diagnosing arrhythmias, your doctor may ask:
- your health and family history.
- a physics examination.
- a variety of tests to diagnose arrhythmia.
With an ECG, your physician can also perform a chest x-ray or echocardiogram to verify:
- Your heart’s shape and size.
- the status of the valves that help control the circulation of blood through your heart.
Because arrhythmias may be uneven and may not occur while you are at the doctor’s clinic, your doctor may ask you to use a cardiac monitor at home. Monitor types are as follows:
- Holter monitor. is a portable monitor that records heart rate over a period of 1 to 2 days.
- Event recorders. Event loggers are hand-held monitors that can be used to record your heart rate when you experience an anomaly or irregularity.
- Implantable loop recorder. Your doctor can implant a recorder under your skin to keep an eye on your heart rate and record unusual arrhythmias.
Additional tests may also determine arrhythmia in different situations. These include:
- Stress test. A stress test helps your doctor monitor your heart rate during your workout to see if the effort leads to arrhythmia. They may also use medications to boost your heart rate for the exam if you are having trouble exercising.
- Sleep study. A sleep study can demonstrate if sleep apnea is the cause of your arrhythmias.
- Tilt table test. A table tilt test may be used if your arrhythmias have caused you to pass out in the past. Your doctor will verify your heart rate and blood pressure while you lie on a tilted table between different positions.
- Electrophysiological testing. Your doctor will insert thin electrode catheters into your veins at various areas of your heart to map electrical signals during electrophysiology tests. Electrodes may also lead to arrhythmias, which may assist your doctor in diagnosing them and recomending treatments.
Your doctor may also conduct blood tests for magnesium levels, calcium, thyroid hormone, and other substances in your bloodstream that can affect the arrhythmia.
Arrhythmias can occur based on a variety of causes, some of which may not be avoided. You can still work to prevent your arrhythmia from starting or worsening.
Firstly, you need to know the cause of your arrhythmia in order to avoid triggers. A number of triggers can be avoided, including:
- stress or anxiety
- certain medications
- some street drugs
Talk to your doctor if you think that certain medications are responsible for your arrhythmia. Do not use your medication yourself.
Healthy living is also useful for the prevention or control of arrhythmias. Make a special effort to:
- eat healthy food with little salt and fat.
- When you smoke, stop smoking.
- exercise constantly
- maintain a healthy body weight range.
- limit stress
- reduce alcohol consumption.
- keep your blood pressure and cholesterol healthy.
Work out a plan with your physician to help you control your arrhythmia, including steps to take on a regular basis when you experience symptoms.
Arrhythmia can be caused by family history, health, age, lifestyle, mental health and other factors.
Medical conditions or events, in particular those related to your heart, can increase your risk. They include:
- coronary artery disease
- heart valve disease
- heart attack or heart failure
- cardiomyopathy (heart muscle diseases)
- endocarditis (heart inflammation)
- sleep apnea
- chronic lung disease
- hyperactive or under-active thyroid gland.
- kidney disease
- dietary disturbances leading to electrolyte imbalance or malnutrition.
The following are some common risk factors:
- older age
- some drugs, mostly stimulants and antihistamines, some of them on the counter
- air pollution
- Familial history of arrhythmia
- drugs, such as cocaine or amphetamines.
Lifestyle changes have the potential to reduce the risk of arrhythmia.
Various types of arrhythmia, especially when not treated, can lead to life-threatening complications. These complications are as follows:
- heart failure
- dementia (loss of cognitive abilities.)
- cardiac arrest
- arrhythmias that become more severe over time or cause other symptoms.
According to a 2014 study, several diseases, including arrhythmia, were strongly linked to dementia in adults over 64 years of age.
Homemade cures for arrhythmia.
Make changes to the home lifestyle, such as regular exercise and healthy eating, may help improve the health of your heart and help control arrhythmia.
Additional or alternative therapies can help you manage your arrhythmia, There is a need for further research. In a 2013 study, yoga was shown to reduce atrial fibrillation episodes and improve blood pressure and anxiety.
Acupuncture can also be helpful in treating arrhythmias, according to a 2017 study. However, the review noted that current research is confined.
According to two studies published in 2017, magnesium and vitamin C supplementation can reduce or prevent atrial fibrillation after cardiac surgery.
However, there was not enough confirmation to suggest supplemental treatment for other arrhythmias.
Talk to your doctor about any other medications, especially supplements.
There are different kinds of cardiac arrhythmias. Most of them are safe, and almost everyone has an arrhythmia at some point. Usually no one notices them.
It’s also natural to get an increase in heart rate during exercise, when your heart works hard to provide your tissues with high-oxygen blood so that you don’t get tired too quickly.
Some arrhythmias are not safe, while others may be life-threatening. Your perspective varies according to the type and severity of your arrhythmia. If you believe you have an arrhythmia, consult your physician.
Even the harshest arrhythmias can often be successfully cured. Most people who suffer from arrhythmias can lead normal lives.