What is Arrhythmia of the Heart?
An irregular heartbeat is called arrhythmia (pronounced “uh-RITH”-me-uh). If the electrical signals used to coordinate heartbeats aren’t functioning properly, it’s known as a heart rhythm issue (heart arrhythmia). Faulty signalling can cause the heartbeat to be irregular, too fast, or too slow (Tachycardia), depending on whether it is being sent correctly.
Heart arrhythmias can feel like a racing or fluttering heart, but they are usually harmless. Unfortunately, some heart arrhythmias can cause serious symptoms, sometimes even death.
Sometimes, however, it is normal to have a slow or fast heartbeat. The heart rate can increase during exercise or decrease during sleep.
Treatments for heart arrhythmia may include medication, catheter procedures, surgery, or implanted devices. You can use these devices to stop irregular, fast or slow-pacing heartbeats. In addition, heart health can prevent certain arrhythmias by living a healthy lifestyle.
Arrhythmia can be found in 1.5 and 5 percent Trusted Source of the population.
Types of Arrhythmia
Heart arrhythmias group:
- Tachycardia is a rapid heartbeat. The resting heartbeat beats more than 100 beats in a minute.
- Bradycardia (brad’e-KAHR -dee-uh) is a slow heartbeat. The resting heartbeat is less than 60 beats per minute.
Tachycardia (fast heartbeat)
There are several types of tachycardias
- A-fib (Arial fibrillation). Chaotic heart signalling can cause rapid, uncoordinated beats. Although temporary, some people may experience permanent symptoms. A-fib If not treated, episodes can continue unabated. A-fib stroke and other serious complications.
- Atrial flutter. Like atrial flutter A-fib, heartbeats are more structured. Stroke is also associated with atrial flutter.
- Subventricular Tachycardia The broad term refers to arrhythmias that begin over the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles). Supraventricular Tachycardia is characterized by episodes of a rapid heartbeat (palpitations) that can abruptly end and begin.
- Ventricular Fibrillation. When the electrical impulses from the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles) suddenly change, the blood vessels in the body start to contract. If your heart’s normal rhythm isn’t restored in minutes, this serious problem could lead to death. Most people with ventricular fibrillation suffer from an underlying condition or serious trauma.
- Ventricular Tachycardia. These irregular heartbeats are caused by faulty electrical signals in the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles). The rapid heartbeat doesn’t allow ventricles to fill properly with blood. The heart cannot pump enough blood to the body as a result. If the heart is healthy, ventricular Tachycardia might not be a problem. For those suffering from heart disease, ventricular Tachycardia may be a serious medical emergency that needs immediate medical attention.
Bradycardia is a slow heartbeat.
Bradycardia is a heartbeat below 60 beats per minute at rest. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a problem. Your heart might still be capable of pumping enough blood to your body if you are physically fit.
Bradycardia is a condition where your heartbeat slows, and your blood pressure drops. There are several types of bradycardias:
- Sinusitis. The sinus is responsible for controlling the pace of your heart. If it fails to function properly, your heart rate can fluctuate between too slow and too fast. Scarring around the sinus node can cause sick sinus syndrome. This scarring slows down, disrupts, or blocks the flow of impulses. Older adults are more likely to experience sick sinus syndrome.
- Conduction block. Blocking the electrical pathways to the heart can cause heartbeats to slow down or stop. While some blocks can cause no symptoms or signs, others can cause bradycardia or skipped beats.
Premature heartbeats refer to extra beats that occur one after another or in patterns that alternate with the normal beat. For example, premature atrial or ventricular contractions can cause extra beats.
Premature heartbeats can feel like your heart skips a beat. These extra beats are not usually a sign of a more serious condition. However, arrhythmia can develop over time, particularly in heart disease patients. Sometimes, a weaker heart may be caused by repeated premature beats that can last several years.
When you are resting, premature heartbeats can occur. Premature heartbeats can sometimes be caused by stress, strenuous exercise, or stimulants like nicotine or caffeine.
Heart Arrhythmia Symptoms
Any symptoms may not accompany a heart arrhythmia. A doctor may notice an irregular heartbeat when you are being examined for another reason.
Symptoms and signs of arrhythmias can include:
- Fluttering in the chest
- Tachycardia is a racing heartbeat.
- Bradycardia is a slow heartbeat.
- Chest pain
- Breathing difficulties
You may also experience the following symptoms:
When should you see a doctor for Arrhythmia?
You should consult a doctor if you feel your heart beating unevenly or fast. Likewise, if you feel shortness of breath or weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness, chest pain, discomfort, or fainting, seek immediate medical attention.
One type of arrhythmia, ventricular fibrillation, can cause dramatic drops in blood pressure. A collapse can happen in seconds, and the person’s breathing will cease. Should take these steps if this happens:
- Call 911 or an emergency number in your locality.
- If you don’t have anyone trained in cardiopulmonary rescue (CPR), assist with your hands-only CPR. Keep pressing down on the middle of your chest with a speed of 100 to 120 compressions per minute until paramedics arrive. Rescue breathing is not necessary.
- If you know someone, please let them know. CPR Start CPR. CPR This can maintain blood flow to organs until they can administer an electric shock.
- If you have an AED (automatic external defibrillator) nearby, ask someone to get it and follow the instructions. An AED is a portable defibrillator device that can shock and restart the heart. An operator does not need to be trained. AED. The AED will give you the right direction. It is programmed to only allow shocks when necessary.
Causes of Arrhythmia
Understanding the causes of arrhythmias in the heart is helpful.
What is the heart’s rhythm?
The heart comprises four chambers: two upper chambers (atria) and two lower chambers, or ventricles.
A natural pacemaker (the sinus node) is located in the right upper chamber (atrium). It controls the heart’s rhythm. The sinus node sends out electrical signals, which normally initiate each heartbeat. These electrical signals travel across the atria and cause the heart muscles to contract (contract) and pump blood into their ventricles.
The signals then reach a group of cells known as the AV Node: This is where they slow down. This slight delay allows blood to flow into the ventricles. Finally, the electrical signals reach the ventricles and cause the chambers to contract, pumping blood to the lungs.
This signalling process is normal in healthy hearts. It results in a normal resting rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute.
Arrhythmia is a condition where the heartbeat becomes irregular.
- Scarring from a past heart attack or current heart attack
- Coronary artery disease is a blockage of the heart’s arteries.
- Modifications in the structure of the heart, such as cardiomyopathy
- High blood pressure
- Infection with COVID-19
- Hyperthyroidism (hyperthyroidism) is a condition characterized by an overactive thyroid gland.
- Sleep apnea
- Certain medications, such as colds and allergies, can be purchased without a prescription.
- Too much alcohol or caffeine
- Drug abuse
- Stress and anxiety
These are some of the things that could increase your risk of developing heart arrhythmias:
- Coronary heart disease, previous heart surgery, cardiac problems, and heart failure are all risk factors for arrhythmia.
- High blood sugar. This condition can increase the likelihood of developing coronary heart disease. This condition can also lead to stiffening and thickening of the walls in the left lower chamber (left ventricle), which can affect how electrical signals travel through your heart.
- Congenital heart diseases. A heart condition can affect your heart rhythm.
- Thyroid disease. An overactive or underactive gland in the thyroid can increase the risk of irregular heartbeats.
- Obstructive sleeping apnea. It causes breathing pauses during sleep. This condition can cause a slow heartbeat (bradycardia) and irregular heartbeats (including atrial fibrillation).
- Electrolyte imbalance. Electrolytes are substances in the blood that trigger and send electrical impulses to the heart. Unbalanced electrolytes can cause irregular heartbeats and interfere with the heart’s signalling.
- Certain supplements and prescription drugs. Other medications, such as cough and cold medicines, can cause arrhythmias.
- Alcoholism is excessive. Too much alcohol can cause electrical impulses to your heart to become less efficient and increase your chances of developing atrial fibrillation.
- Use of illegal drugs, nicotine, or caffeine. Increased heartbeat can lead to more serious arrhythmias. Illegal drugs like cocaine and amphetamines can cause arrhythmias, sudden death, and ventricular fibrillation.
Lifestyle changes that reduce the risk of heart disease can help prevent arrhythmias. The following are key elements of a heart-healthy lifestyle:
- A heart-healthy diet
- Physical activity is key to staying active.
- Healthy weight
- Not smoking
- Avoiding caffeine or restricting your intake of alcohol
- Reduce stress like anger, and intense stress can lead to heart rhythm problems.
- Use medications according to the instructions and tell your doctor about any medicines you use, even those purchased without a prescription.
The type of heart rhythm and possible complications will determine the medication used.
Most people suffering from Tachycardia have been prescribed drugs that control their heart rate and restore normal rhythm.
Blood thinners may be prescribed for atrial fibrillation to prevent blood clots. To reduce complications, you must follow all instructions.
Vagal maneuvers and cardioversion are two options to treat irregular heartbeats.
- Vagal maneuvers. Your doctor may recommend this therapy if you have supraventricular Tachycardia. Vagal maneuvers can slow down your heart rate by affecting the nerves that control your heartbeat (vagus nervous systems). You may be able to stop arrhythmia, for example, by holding your breath and straining or by dipping your face into ice water. Vagal maneuvers won’t work for every type of arrhythmia.
- Cardioversion. This procedure resets the heart rhythm using medications or a surgical procedure. Your doctor may recommend this treatment if you suffer from a specific type of arrhythmia, such as atrial fibrillation.
- Cardioversion is a procedure that delivers a shock to the heart via patches or paddles placed on your chest. The current can alter your heart’s electrical impulses and restore normal rhythm.