What is arrhythmia?
Arrhythmia is a heart disorder that is characterized by an abnormal beat or rhythm, in which the heartbeat:
- too fast (tachycardia)
- too slow (bradycardia)
- too early (premature contraction)
- or irregular (fibrillation).
Arrhythmia occurs when electrical impulses do not function. Arrhythmias are classified by:
- Speed: too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia)
- Origin (whether in the ventricles or atria)
How common is arrhythmia?
Arrhythmia is very common. This condition can occur in patients of any age. Arrhythmia can be treated by reducing the risk factors. Discuss with your doctor for more information.
Signs & Symptoms
What are the signs and symptoms of arrhythmia?
Common symptoms of arrhythmia are:
- Slow heart rate: heart rate below 60 beats per minute in the case of bradycardia
- Fast heartbeat: heart rate above 100 beats per minute
- Throbbing in the chest
- Chest pain
- Hard to breathe
- Passed out (syncope) or almost fainted
- Palpitations (heartbeat as missed, palpitating)
- A pounding on the chest
- Hard to breathe
- Chest pain or tightness
- Weakness or fatigue
There may be signs and symptoms not mentioned above. If you have a concern about a particular symptom, consult your doctor.
When should I see a doctor?
If you have any of the above signs or symptoms or other questions, consult your doctor. Each person's body is different. Always consult a doctor to treat your health condition.
What causes arrhythmias?
Arrhythmia can be caused by:
- Wounds to the heart tissue from a previous heart attack
- Changes in heart structure, such as from cardiomyopathy
- Arteries in heart block (coronary artery disease)
- High blood pressure
- Overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism)
- Underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroid)
- Certain medications and supplements, including over-the-counter medicines and nutritional supplements.
What increases my risk for arrhythmias?
There are many risk factors for arrhythmias, namely:
- Excessive consumption of alcohol or caffeine
- Drug abuse
- Sleep apnea
Medicines & Medications
The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor.
How to diagnose arrhythmia?
Arrhythmia can be diagnosed through:
- Questions regarding symptoms and medical history
- Physical examination
- Electrocardiogram (ECG): to detect the electrical activity of the heart
- Holter monitor: This portable ECG device can be used for a day or more to record heart activity
- Event monitor: checks heart rhythm when symptoms occur
- Echocardiogram: produces images of the size, structure and movement of the heart
- Implantable loop recorder: detects abnormal heart rhythms.
Your doctor may do a test to eliminate other conditions with similar symptoms, such as:
- Stress test: during this test, you will be asked to exercise on a treadmill or a static bicycle and monitor heart activity.
- Tilt table test: heart rate and blood pressure are monitored when you lie on the table and when you stand. The response to changes in heart rate angle will be recorded for evaluation.
- Electrophysiological testing and mapping: the spread of electrical impulses through your heart can be recorded.
- Test to exclude all thyroid gland abnormalities that can cause arrhythmias.
What are the usual tests for arrhythmias?
The treatment strategy will be chosen according to the type of arrhythmia, such as:
Use a small device or pacemaker implanted near the collarbone if the cause of bradycardia is unclear. If the heartbeat is too slow or the heart stops beating, pacemaker sends electrical impulses with one or more wires with the tip of the electrode through the blood vessels to the heart. As a result, stimulation is produced to maintain a stable heart rate.
Deal with tachycardia
There are many choices for tachycardia treatment, namely:
- Treatment: Anti-arithmetic treatment can be given for many types of tachycardia to control heart rate or restore normal heart rate.
- Vagal maneuver: A special maneuver to stop supraventricular tachycardia by affecting the nervous system that controls heart rate.
- Cardioversion: shock to the liver through paddles or patches on the chest can affect electrical impulses and can restore a normal beat.
- Catheter ablation: Small patches of heart tissue are swabbed with an electrode at the end of the catheter. Electrical plugs made along the electrode path can help prevent arrhythmias.
In certain cases, surgery can be a recommended alternative for cardiac arrhythmias if the patient does not experience a response to other treatments, such as:
- Maze procedure: a series of incisions in the heart tissue in the upper part of the heart (atria) is performed to create a pattern of tissue injuries that can control deviant electrical impulses that cause arrhythmias.
- Coronary bypass surgery: this operation is done if the patient has coronary artery disease and arrhythmias to improve blood flow to the heart.
Treatment at home
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can be done to treat arrhythmias?
Here are lifestyle and home remedies that can help you deal with arrhythmias:
- Eat foods that are good for the heart: low in salt and solid fat and rich in fruit, vegetables and whole grains
- Regular exercise: exercise every day and increase physical activity
- Avoid smoking and alcohol
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control
- Perform routine maintenance
Some additional and alternative therapies can help reduce stress, such as yoga, meditation, and relaxation techniques.
If you have questions, consult your doctor for the best solution for your problem.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.