What are irregular heartbeat and its symptoms?
An abnormal heartbeat occurs when your heart beats too slow, fast, or irregularly. It is also known as arrhythmia. It describes an irregular heartbeat. An individual with this condition may experience irregular heart rhythm.
This condition occurs when the electrical signals that coordinate with the heartbeat work appropriately. An irregular heartbeat may feel like a fluttering or racing heart. Many of these conditions are harmless. However, if they are highly unstable or result from a damaged or weak heart, arrhythmia can cause severe and potentially fatal complications and symptoms.
It can cause no symptoms, or you may feel discomfort, pounding in your chest, or fluttering pain. Not all of these heart conditions are life-threatening or cause health complications. But to be on the safer side, you should report any irregular heartbeat to an expert.
This blog teaches what arrhythmia is, its causes, and its symptoms. You also get to know about possible treatments and their type.
Arrhythmia: Overview of the condition
An arrhythmiais a group of heart conditions that may cause your heart to beat too fast, too slowly, or irregularly.
There are various categories of this condition, such as:
- irregular heartbeat
- early heartbeat
Most of these conditions are not severe and do not cause health complications. Some, however, can increase the risk of cardiac arrest or strokes. Many people may hear the professional using dysrhythmia when talking about an irregular heartbeat. The terms dysrhythmia and arrhythmia mean the same, but the term arrhythmias are more common.
What do you mean by a normal heartbeat?
Professionals identify a healthy heartbeat by counting the number of times your heart beats every minute during rest. It is known as the resting heart rate. The average range of a healthy heart rate depends from person to person, but according to a study, a moderate heart rate is usually between 60 and 100 bpm.
The healthier an individual is, the lower their resting heart rate becomes. Athletes, for instance, will have a resting heart rate of less than 60 bpm, as their hearts are highly efficient. Your heart should beat with a regular rhythm, consisting of double ba-bum beats with even spaces between the heartbeats.
You can measure your heartbeat using your pulse. It is a point where you can feel the heartbeat through the skin. The best location on the body for this is:
- the insides of the elbow
- the wrists
- the top of the foot
- the side of the neck
Does arrhythmia as different types?
Yes, it is categorized into four different types, including:
It means that your heart is beating too quickly. For instance, an average heart rate is 60 to 100 times per minute in healthy adults, but your resting heart rate gets over 100 beats per minute in this condition.
If you are suffering from this condition, you have a prolonged heart rate that is less than 60 bpm. It generally occurs when the electrical signals from your arteries to the ventricles become disrupted. Some athletes have slow heart rates as they have an excellent physical condition.
With many premature contractions, your heart appears to skip a beat when the pulse is taken in the chest or wrist. That skipped beat is so weak or faint that it is not felt or heard. Other types of this condition include early beats or extra beats. All these types occur in the upper and lower heart chambers.
It is a disorganized heartbeat that occurs in the copper chambers of your heart. It is the most common type of arrhythmia. This condition occurs when many dangerous electrical impulses misfire and the arteries quivering out of control.
It causes the heartbeat to increase and become erratic. It can increase your heart rate to 100 to 200 BPM faster than a normal heartbeat.
What is the most common cause of irregular heartbeat?
An interruption to the electrical impulse that can stimulate the heart contraction may result in irregular heart rate. Various factors can cause your heart to work inappropriately, such as:
- diabetes and stress
- abuse on alcohol
- drinking too coffee
- substance use disorder
- high blood pressure
- heart conditions
- scarring of the heart, often due to heart attack
- overactive thyroid gland
- medications or smoking
- certain dietary supplements
An individual with a healthy heart will hardly ever experience a long-term arrhythmia unless they have an external trigger, including a substance use disorder or electric shock. However, an underlying condition of the heart can mean that electrical impulses do not travel through your heart correctly. It increases the risk of this condition.
How severe is an irregular heartbeat?
Arrhythmia may not cause noticeable symptoms. However, a professional may detect this condition through routine examinations or by requesting an electrocardiogram. Even if you notice some symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that you have severe arrhythmia. Many people with life-threatening arrhythmia may have no symptoms, while others with such signs may not have a severe arrhythmia.
Symptoms of tachycardia
Its symptoms include:
- dizziness and lightheadedness
- breathlessness or chest pain
- fluttering in the chest
- sudden weakness
- fainting or nearly fainting
Symptoms of bradycardia
Its symptoms include:
- dizziness and confusion
- trouble in concentrating
- finding exercise more difficult than usual
- shortness of breath
- profuse sweating
- trouble concentrating
- angina or chest pain
- palpitations or tiredness
Symptoms of A-fib
When its symptoms occur, they often have fast hart beat and may involve:
- breathlessness or palpitations
- dizziness and weakness
- fainting or about to faint
- angina or chest pain
How do you fix irregular heartbeat?
The treatment of an irregular heartbeat depends on its cause. You may need to make some lifestyle changes, such as increasing your activity levels and changing your diet. If you smoke, your health care professional will help you quit smoking.
You may also require specific medications to control your abnormal heartbeat and secondary symptoms. For severe abnormalities that do not fade away with behavioral changes and drugs, your health care professional can recommend:
- catheter ablation to destroy tissue that may cause abnormal rhythms
- cardiac catheterization to diagnose a heart problem
- surgery to correct an abnormality
- implantation of a pacemaker or cardioverter-defibrillator
- cardioversion by drugs or an electrical shock to the heart
An expert grafts arteries from elsewhere in the body onto the coronary arteries. It helps the circulation bypass regions that improve the blood supply to your heart.
Drugs used to treat irregular heartbeat depend on your arrhythmia type. For instance, medications to control the heartbeat and restore a normal heart rhythm are often prescribed for most people with tachycardia. If you are suffering from arterial fibrillation, blood thinners may recommend preventing blood clots. It is essential to take the drugs exactly as prescribed by your healthcare professional to reduce the risk of complications.
Although irregular heartbeat can be quite severe, many cases can be controlled with the proper treatment. Along with the treatment, your health care professional will want to monitor your conditions with regular appointments.