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An arrhythmia is a cardiologic condition causing irregular heartbeat. It means that your heart is out of its regular rhythm. This condition is also known as dysrhythmia. When a person is suffering from this condition, it will be as if his/her heart skipped a beat, or is fluttering. It might feel like the heart is beating very fast or very slow. There are times when an individual doesn’t even realise it.
Arrhythmia is known as an emergency situation in rare cases, or could be harmless as well in some cases. If you experience anything unusual with your heartbeat, make sure to get clinical assistance immediately so that doctors can identify why it is occurring and what to do about it.
There are different types of arrhythmias which include:
An arrhythmia condition can be silent at times which means it can occur without causing any symptoms. Doctors usually find an uneven heartbeat during physical evaluation. If someone experience symptoms, it might include:
Arrhythmia is a condition that can involve varied causes such as emotional, physical, or genetic. In some cases, the causes remain unknown whereas some people might experience this condition due to medications to treat conditions like depression, allergies, common cold, and high blood pressure.
Blood flow changes or physical changes to the heart like scarring can also be one of the reasons for arrhythmia. There are clinical conditions such as thyroid disorder, sleep apnoea, dehydration, high blood pressure, and electrolyte imbalance in levels of calcium, magnesium, or potassium.
Lifestyle and physical factors are also among the causes of arrhythmia. For instance:
There are some arrhythmia risk factors which are associated with clinical conditions. These conditions increase the risk of developing arrhythmia:
Other risk factors causing arrhythmia include old age, medications such as stimulants, air pollution, family history of arrhythmia, caffeine, and street drugs like cocaine.
There are a variety of tests involved in diagnosing arrhythmia. These tests are useful in determining the reason for an irregular heartbeat.
Here are the tests that will assist the doctor in reaching a diagnosis:
Additionally, the doctor might advise a chest X-ray and a echocardiogram to evaluate:
The doctor might order additional tests to diagnose arrhythmia which include:
There are times when arrhythmia doesn't require treatment, however, it is essential to have this condition clinically assessed.
The doctor will assess if the condition is causing severe symptoms or not depending on which, treatment options will be decided.
If you are experiencing a fast heart rate, your doctor might suggest vagal manoeuvres as it will slow down your heart rate. Vagal manoeuvres include soaking your face with cold water, gagging, coughing, and holding your breath during straining.
The doctor might give some medications so that your condition is managed and will also help prevent the risk of heart attack. Here are the medications that your doctor will prescribe depending on the type of arrhythmia:
Ensure taking medications as prescribed by the doctor. Get in touch with your doctor in case there are side effects, new symptoms of arrhythmia or worsening of the condition.
If medications and other treatment options are not working, then your doctor might recommend a minor procedure or surgery. There are various procedures that help in treating arrhythmia. It includes catheter ablation, pacemaker, and implantable cardioverter defibrillator. Surgery is also useful in treating serious arrhythmia types like atrial fibrillation.
There are a variety of causes behind arrhythmia conditions and it might be complex for you to prevent them. But, you can include some healthy habits in your lifestyle to prevent triggering your condition or making it poorer. Here are the tips you can follow:
Follow a heart-healthy diet with less fat and salt
Consult your doctor if some medications are causing arrhythmia and don’t stop taking medications or change them on your own.
Ventricular fibrillation is one of the deadly forms of arrhythmia. This form involves palpitation rather than beating steadily within an individual’s atria. The ventricles stop pumping blood throughout the body including heart muscles.
Yes, arrhythmia is a lifelong condition. However, the symptoms can be prevented or managed by making certain lifestyle changes such as quitting alcohol and smoking, exercising regularly, healthy eating habits, staying away from stress/anxiety, etc.
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Congenital heart diseases are heart defects that exist since birth, which means the child is born with the heart defect.
Cardiovascular diseases can be defined as conditions that affect the heart or the blood vessels. It affects the structure and function of the heart.
Congenital heart disease refers to a heart condition that is caused by birth. Any child who is born with heart disease suffers from congenital heart disease.