Heart Rhythm Problem /Arrhythmia – Conditions

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Overview

Heart arrhythmias are heart rhythm problems that arise when the electrical impulses that coordinate the heartbeats fail to function properly. This results in your heart beating too quickly, too slowly, or irregularly.

They are typically innocuous, causing a fluttering or racing sensation in the chest without any symptoms. The sensation that your heart has skipped a beat or added a beat may be present.

Types of arrhythmia include:

·         Bradycardia: slow heartbeat.

·         Tachycardia: fast heartbeat.

The vast majority of arrhythmias are minor in nature and do not result in any consequences. Some of them, on the other hand, can put you at risk of having a stroke or going into cardiac arrest.

The heart has four chambers: two upper chambers and two lower chambers. This chamber contains a natural pacemaker (sinus node), which is accountable for regulating the rhythm of heartbeat. The sinus node is in charge of generating the electrical impulses that signal the beginning of every heartbeat. Because of these impulses, the muscles of the atria contract, causing blood to flow into the ventricles and then out of the body to circulate.

The atrioventricular (AV) node, which is a cluster of cells in the heart, is responsible for receiving electrical impulses. The AV node is in charge of delaying the electrical signal before it is sent to the ventricles. As a result of the brief delay, the ventricles may become filled with blood. Muscle contraction occurs because of electrical impulses reaching the ventricles, which cause the ventricles to pump blood either to the lungs or throughout the body.

This process is smooth and efficient in a healthy heart, resulting in a normal heartbeat. A typical resting heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute on average.

Causes

Disruption of the electrical impulses that stimulate heart contractions causes heart rhythm problems, which can occur in many different ways. Some of the factors causing the condition are:

·         Substance abuse

·         Excessive consumption of caffeinated beverages

·         Heart disease, such as congestive heart failure

·         Hypertension

·         Hyperthyroidism

·         Stress

·         Smoking

·         Some medications

People with good heart health rarely develop long-term arrhythmias unless they are exposed to an external trigger such as a substance abuse disorder or an electric shock.

When there is an underlying heart problem, electrical impulses may not travel through the heart in the proper direction. Because of this, arrhythmias are more likely to manifest themselves.

Symptoms

Your heart’s inability to pump effectively because of a fast or slow heartbeat may manifest itself in different signs and symptoms. Shortness of breath, light-headedness, weakness, dizziness, fainting, as well as chest pain or discomfort, are some of the signs and symptoms of arrhythmia.

Arrhythmia symptoms include:

·         Racing heartbeat

·         Slow heartbeat

·         Fluttering in the chest

Diagnosis

Your heart’s electrical activity is measured with an electrocardiogram (ECG), which is a noninvasive test. In order to complete the quick and painless test at your doctor’s office, small electrode patches are worn on the chest, arms, and legs.

Doctors may use echocardiograms that utilize ultrasound waves for checking the heart muscle as well as valves.

In addition to the blood tests, a stress test is performed to determine the severity of the condition. This test is carried out to determine how much stress your heart can withstand before developing a rhythm problem or failing to receive enough blood. An EKG machine will monitor your heart rate as well as blood pressure as you walk on a treadmill.

In addition, the doctor performs an electrophysiology study. Your heart’s electrical activities and pathways are recorded and analyzed during this procedure. If you have heart rhythm problems, it can assist in determining the underlying cause of your problems as well as selecting the most appropriate treatment for you. During the test, your doctor will use a safe trigger to induce your abnormal heart rhythm, which will be closely monitored.

Treatment

Doctors usually implant a pacemaker for bradycardia. This is because there are no medicines that can reliably speed up the heart.

A pacemaker is a small implanted device that regulates the heart’s rhythm. One or more electrode-tipped cables pass through your blood vessels before reaching your inner heart, where the pacemaker is implanted. If your heart becomes too sluggish or stops beating, the pacemaker stimulates it to beat at a regular rate by sending electrical impulses to it through the body.

Following are the treatment options to treat rapid heartbeats (tachycardia):

·         Vagal maneuvers are used to impact the neurological system that regulates your heartbeat, resulting in a slowing of your heart rate.

·         Various types of tachycardia may necessitate the administration of medication in order to control your heart rate or restore a normal cardiac rhythm.

·         Your doctor may prescribe blood-thinning medications if you have atrial fibrillation, which can aid in preventing the formation of potentially life-threatening blood clots.

When to see a doctor

You should seek emergency medical attention if you experience any of the signs and symptoms listed above at times when you would not expect them to occur.

Ventricular fibrillation (VF) is a type of arrhythmia that has the potential to be fatal if not treated promptly. A fast and erratic frequency of electrical impulses in the heart causes it to beat rapidly and with irregular frequency. Instead of pumping blood, the lower chambers of your heart twitch ineffectively, wasting energy in the process. When you do not have a strong heartbeat, your blood pressure drops, which results in a reduction in the amount of blood that gets to your vital organs. Consequently, it is critical to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

A heart-healthy lifestyle is essential for preventing arrhythmias. The consumption of a heart-healthy diet is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health. It is important to maintain a healthy weight and engage in physical activity on a regular basis. The consumption of caffeinated beverages and alcoholic beverages should be limited or avoided altogether. Stress reduction is important because high levels of stress and anger can lead to cardiac rhythm problems in the short and long term.


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