Arrhythmia is a heart condition characterised by irregular or abnormal heart rhythms. It occurs when the heart’s electrical impulses that regulate its beating become disrupted, leading to a heartbeat that is too fast, too slow, or erratic. This condition can affect the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively, potentially causing dizziness, palpitations, fatigue, or serious complications. Medical evaluation and treatment are often necessary to manage arrhythmia and prevent potential heart-related issues.
Causes of Arrhythmia
- Scarring due to a Heart Attack– An individual who has previously suffered a heart attack has a high chance of getting affected by Arrhythmia. A heart attack leads to scarring of the heart muscles. It further leads to improper transfer of signals to the heart. Hence, the heart creates a fluttering sense, leading to breathlessness or even pain in the chest in severe conditions. Disruption in electrical signals creates a disturbance in the working of the heart.
- Blocked Coronary Arteries– Blocked coronary arteries happen due to fatty deposits in the arteries. It blocks blood flow, leading to different health and cardiovascular issues. Overtime, the limited blood flow weakens the heart muscles and causes problems with the rhythm of the heart.
- High Blood Pressure– High blood pressure patients are also at risk of getting affected by heart disease. The medical situation causes the heart to pump harder for proper blood supply to all the organs. It stiffens and hardens the heart muscles, making the blood thicker and harder to flow. Therefore, clean eating and avoiding ill habits like smoking and drinking alcohol help to avoid high blood pressure and other heart-related diseases.
- Diabetes– A person with diabetes is surrounded by more than two to three health issues. Such people are also at a higher risk of getting affected by atrial fibrillation. The signalling system of the heart is damaged due to diabetes, leading to a slowed or higher heart rate. Diabetic people, hence, are always advised to follow strict and healthy diet routines.
- Age- Advancing age increases the risk of arrhythmias due to natural wear and tear on the heart’s electrical system.
- Electrolyte Imbalances- Abnormal potassium, sodium, or other electrolyte levels can affect heart function.
- Thyroid Issues- Thyroid disorders can interfere with heart rhythm regulation.
- Alcohol or Drug Abuse- Excessive alcohol or stimulant use can trigger arrhythmias.
- Stress or Anxiety- Emotional stress or anxiety can affect the heart’s electrical signals.
- Caffeine or Tobacco- Excessive caffeine or tobacco use can influence heart rhythms.
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea- Interruptions in breathing during sleep can lead to arrhythmias.
Symptoms of Arrhythmia
- Fluttering in Chest- One of the identifiable symptoms of Arrhythmia is a sense of fluttering in the chest. The affected individual feels their heart beating faster than the required pace. It may happen due to high physical exertion, like heavy exercise, mental stress, medical conditions, or improper medications. The fluttering may calm down, but you should rush for professional medical help if the condition persists.
- Chest Pain– Pain in the chest is another indicated symptom of this heart disorder. If the pain lengthens the usual time, it is advised to seek medical help to get to the root cause. The symptom happens due to atrial fibrillation, leading to low blood flow in the heart muscles. The affected patient may also experience breathlessness and difficulty in breathing.
- Sweating– Excessive sweating is also one of the symptoms of the disease. It happens when the affected patient experiences ventricular Arrhythmia. It happens when the heart cannot pump blood to different body parts. Different signs, such as chest pain, breathing difficulties, and excessive sweating, can indicate the condition. One may also experience heart palpitations due to the improper signalling system of the heart.
- Fatigue– Fluttering of the heart of atrial fibrillation leads to improper oxygen-rich blood flow in the body. Hence, a heart cannot beat with the pace and the way it should, like a healthy body. If the condition is not consulted by proper medical treatment, signs such as chest pain, light-headedness, and fatigue may be experienced by the affected individual.
- Fainting (Syncope)– Sudden loss of consciousness, usually brief, due to a drop in blood flow to the brain.
- Rapid Heartbeat (Tachycardia)– Heartbeat that is faster than normal at rest.
- Slow Heartbeat (Bradycardia)– Heartbeat that is slower than normal, leading to fatigue and dizziness.
Treatment Options for Arrhythmia
- Medications- Medications to control irregular heartbeat observed in the issue are suggested depending on the health issue. Different medications are suggested for tachycardia and bradycardia. The medications help regulate the heartbeat and avoid other related health conditions. In atrial fibrillation, doctors may prescribe blood thinners to avoid blood clotting. Taking medications as suggested by doctors is important to avoid deteriorating the situation.
- Vagal Manoeuvres– It is a form of therapy used in cases of tachycardia. The treatment helps to slow down the paced heartbeat and lower the constant fluttering of the heart. The method involves holding your breath for a few seconds and exhaling it through the nose. The procedure is performed while lying on the back in a resting position.
- Pacemaker– Pacemaker installation is a surgical procedure to correct the slowed heartbeat. The device helps to send electrical impulses to the heart to signal a proper heartbeat for a healthy body. The device is surgically implanted near the collarbone for proper functioning and sending signals to the heart for proper beating.
- Cardioversion: This procedure involves delivering an electric shock to the heart to restore a normal rhythm in cases of atrial fibrillation or other specific arrhythmias.
- Catheter Ablation: A thin catheter targets and destroys the tissue responsible for causing abnormal electrical signals in ggthe heart.
When to Consult a Doctor
You can also get in touch with the expert cardiology doctors at Narayana Healthcare based in your city to get immediate attention and medical support during injuries, health disorders or any other health concern.
Arrhythmia is a health condition in which the heart doesn’t beat as a healthy body requires. The heartbeats can be too slow or faster than the required heart rate. The medical condition can be identified by symptoms such as chest pain, breathlessness, and other similar conditions. It can be healthy through surgeries, therapies, medications, or even simple observations in some cases.
Q. What is Arrhythmia?
A. It is a medical scenario in which the heart beats too fast or too slow, leading to multiple heart and health issues.
Q. What are the symptoms of Arrhythmia?
A. The medical issue can be identified by signs such as chest pain, breathlessness, excessive sweating, or fatigue.
Q. What are the causes of Arrhythmia?
A. The common causes of Arrhythmia are heart conditions, age, high blood pressure, stress, anxiety, electrolyte imbalances and more.
Q. What is tachycardia?
A. Tachycardia is the heart rate that is faster than normal at rest.
Q. What is bradycardia?
A. Bradycardia is the heart rate that is slower than normal at rest.
Q. What are the treatment options for arrhythmia?
A. Medications, pacemakers, cardioversion, catheter ablation and vagal manoeuvres are some ways to treat arrhythmia.