Are You Experiencing Heart Arrhythmia?

What is heart arrhythmia? This is a condition characterised by an irregular heartbeat. When the electrical signals that regulate the beating of your heart aren't working efficiently, your heart can beat too quickly or too slowly.

Causes And Symptoms Of Heart Arrhythmia

It's not always possible to identify why a person develops heart arrhythmia, but it can be caused by blocked arteries or develop due to scarring from previous heart surgery. Heart arrhythmia can also occur due to an underlying health condition, such as high blood pressure, thyroid disease, sleep apnoea and diabetes. Genetics, substance abuse, stress and certain medications can also make you more susceptible to developing this condition.

Common symptoms of heart arrhythmia include chest pain, a racing or slow heartbeat, shortness of breath and a fluttering feeling across your chest. You may also experience dizziness, sweating, fatigue and anxiety.

Diagnosing And Treating Heart Arrhythmia

Your doctor will diagnose heart arrhythmia by carrying out a physical exam and a number of diagnostic tests. These may include blood tests to check for inflammation and infection and an electrocardiogram or echocardiogram. An electrocardiogram uses sensors that are attached to your chest to monitor electrical currents in your heart, which is useful for measuring each small stage of a heartbeat. An echocardiogram involves having a handheld transducer moved back and forward across your chest to produce images of your heart. This can show whether there are any structural abnormalities or growths present.

Treatment for heart arrhythmia is dependent on the underlying cause and whether your heart is beating too quickly or too slowly. Treatment may include medication to regulate your heart rate and ensure healthy blood flow through your heart. Cardioversion may also be recommended as a treatment. This is a type of therapy that involves controlled electric shock currents being delivered to your heart through your chest. The goal is for the electrical currents to interfere with your heart rhythm and restore a normal heartbeat. Surgery may also be recommended in certain cases and may involve fitting a pacemaker, carrying out a coronary bypass procedure or inserting a catheter into a blood vessel in your heart to regulate your heartbeat through electrodes in the catheter tip. Lifestyle changes can also help, particularly in conjunction with other treatments. So, your doctor may recommend you alter your diet, exercise more or learn some stress-reduction methods, such as meditation.

If you're experiencing symptoms associated with heart arrhythmia, schedule an appointment with your GP to begin your journey to diagnosis and treatment. For more information, contact a GP near you.