Arrhythmia is a generic term for irregular, abnormal heart rhythm. Heart rate and rhythm are the factors involved with arrhythmia.
Too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia) or erratic pattern are the primary aspects for evaluating an arrhythmia’s irregularity. Most are assessed harmless, but this should only be determined by a medical professional.
Arrhythmia can also be very serious. For example, ventricular fibrillation arrhythmia is a leading cause of cardiac arrests. And this stoppage will cause death in a heartbeat.
One of the most common arrhythmia is sinus arrhythmia. This type of arrhythmia is a heart rate change in concert with breathing. Inhaling speeds it up, exhaling slows it down. Don’t panic! Sinus arrhythmia cyclic change is considered normal.
Arrhythmia frequently gives off little indication of their presence. In fact, many are discovered during a doctor’s visit for a completely different reason.
If symptoms are present, you may experience:
- chest pain
- feel faint/fainting
- shortness of breath
- fast/slow/skip heartbeat
The cause for your arrhythmia might never be determined. A heart attack or some underlying heart condition are prime suspects, like:
- heart failure
- abnormal heart valves
- coronary artery disease
- rheumatic heart disease
- high blood pressure ~ hypertension
- overactive or underactive thyroid gland
Some other suspects that affect a heart’s rhythm are:
- diet pills
- sleep apnea
- herbal remedies
- intense exercise
- certain prescription
- dietary supplements
- metabolism fluctuations
- abnormal hormone levels
- genetic heart abnormalities
- illegal drugs ~ cocaine/amphetamines
- blood chemistry/electrolyte imbalances
- low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) ~ diabetes
- cough/cold remedies containing pseudoephedrine
Even ultra fine air pollutants, i.e. car exhaust, tend to cause an arrhythmia to develop.
There are treatments available to restore a normal heart rhythm, including:
- vagal maneuvers
- radiofrequency ablation
- implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD)
- medicines ~ restore heartbeat and thin blood
Incredibly, serious arrhythmia is met with successful treatment.
Since many cases of arrhythmia are due to an underlying heart disease, you’ll probably be advised to make some healthy lifestyle changes on behalf of your heart’s health. For instance:
- quit smoking
- stress reduction
- caffeine/alcohol cutbacks
- consume heart healthy foods
- increase your physical activity
- avoid OTC stimulant medications ~ cold, nasal decongestant
Your arrhythmia treatment outlook largely depends on its type and severity. Chances are great that you will be able to live a normal, healthy life.