What is an arrhythmia and how can it be treated?
To supply the body’s lungs and heart with an adequate supply of oxygen and blood, the heart beats in a normal rhythm. A dysrhythmia or arrhythmia is a irregular heartbeat.
Arrhythmias affect many people every day. Many people don’t know they have arrhythmias because they don’t always show symptoms. Although anyone can get arrhythmias, certain factors increase the risk.
What are the various types of arrhythmias you can experience?
- There are many types of arrhythmias, including:
- Bradycardia is a slower heartbeat than normal.
- Tachycardia is a faster heartbeat than normal.
Atrial fibrillation is caused by irregular heartbeats and electrical signals to the heart. The atrium contracts faster than the ventricle.
- Ventricular fibrillation is a condition where the ventricle contracts very quickly.
- Premature contraction is when the heart beats faster than normal.
- Atrial flutter is a condition in which the heart’s rhythm is too fast.
Who is at greatest risk of arrhythmia?
Arrhythmia can occur in people with an existing heart condition. Certain heart conditions can alter the way your heart functions, which can lead to your heart changing its beat or pace over time. These are some of the risk factors:
- Coronary heart disease
A buildup of plaque on the heart, or scarring in the blood vessels that supply blood the heart muscle, can cause coronary heart disease. Plaque buildup can make it harder for the heart pump blood. Arrhythmia can result from a slower heart beat.
- Heart attack or failure
Arrhythmia can be caused by heart attacks, heart failure, or other heart conditions.
Endocarditis refers to inflammation of the heart muscle. Atrial fibrillation is a common condition in people with endocarditis.
- Heart valve disease
A weak or leaky heart valve can lead to changes in heart rhythms that can lead to arrhythmias.
- Congenital heart disorders
Some people are born with heart problems that can affect how the heart functions. The heart might not be able to produce a normal beat if this happens.
You are also at higher risk of developing arrhythmia if you have had any heart surgery.
- Lifestyle, age, and gender
Arrhythmia can also be caused by lifestyle, gender, age, and other factors. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, people over 60 years old are more likely than others to develop serious arrhythmia. People over 60 are more likely to develop heart disease. They also take medication that alters the rhythm of their hearts.
The American Heart Association states that certain types of arrhythmia may be more common in certain genders. Men are slightly more likely than women to experience atrial fibrillation.
Your heart rhythm can be affected by what you eat or drink. Arrhythmias are more common in people who drink alcohol or other stimulants like caffeine. Arrhythmias can be caused by drugs, such as some heart medications. Smoking increases your risk of developing an arrhythmia.
- Other conditions
You may also be at increased risk of arrhythmia due to other conditions, such as:
- chronic lung disease
- Pulmonary embolism is a condition where a clot forms in the lungs.
- Emphysema is a condition of the lungs.
- Sleep apnea
- thyroid disorder
- High blood pressure
Chemical imbalance can be caused by a deficiency in potassium, magnesium, or calcium. This is necessary to maintain a healthy heart rhythm.