Understanding the Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Alternatives for Arrhythmia

Understanding the Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Alternatives for Arrhythmia

Nov 02, 2021

Arrhythmia is a term used to describe a condition where the heartbeat of your heart is irregular. It could be that the heartbeat is too fast, too slow, or has an inconsistent beating pattern. Ideally, arrhythmia is a consequence of the improper working of the electrical impulses of the heart. When the heartbeat is too fast, the term for the condition is tachycardia. On the other hand, when the heartbeat is too slow, it is called bradycardia. However, a generally irregular heartbeat pattern with a fast rhythm is called atrial fibrillation and is the most common type of arrhythmia.

How Serious Is an Irregular Heartbeat?

Any conditions that affect the functionality of your heart are very serious and can be life-threatening. The reason is that the heart supports all the major functions of the body, ensuring that all body organs are supplied with adequate fluids and blood. Therefore, inconsistencies with the functioning of your heart will affect multiple organs in your body, which is how you are likely to have multiple organ failures due to arrhythmia. Your heart arrhythmia may start as a simple problem but advance to a critical health issue requiring urgent care in an ER near you.

You may notice significant health problems developing suddenly, even though you may not have had symptoms of arrhythmia. A common instance among many patients is the sudden loss of consciousness and a significant drop in blood pressure. It happens when the heartbeat is so irregular that the brain does not receive adequate oxygen supply. You are also at high risk for a stroke if any blood clots travel to your brain or heart failure and sudden death.

Irregular Heartbeat Causes and Risk Factors

Patients have varying causes for heart arrhythmia, which greatly impact the symptoms they experience, and the protocols that a doctor will use for treatment for arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). Many of the known causes of heart arrhythmia involve other health problems you may have, either directly affecting your heart or other major organs in your body. Some of them are:

  1. A heart attack
  2. Congenital heart problems
  3. Coronary artery defects
  4. Sleep apnea
  5. Diabetes
  6. High blood pressure
  7. COVID-19 infection

Other than those causes, some risk factors for arrhythmia are:

  1. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and other drug abuse
  2. Stress and anxiety
  3. Addiction to caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea
  4. Aging
  5. Obesity or being overweight
  6. High cholesterol
  7. Certain medication, including dietary supplements

Common Heart Arrhythmia Symptoms

Unfortunately, arrhythmia may not always cause any noticeable symptoms. You may go for a long while without ever knowing you have irregular heartbeats that need treatment. As such, by the time you determine to seek Arrhythmia emergency treatment at a Baytown emergency room, the condition may have progressed and caused many health problems. However, some common symptoms attributed to this heart condition include the following:

  1. Chest pain
  2. An unusually fast heartbeat
  3. An oddly slow heartbeat
  4. Your heart skipping a beat noticeably
  5. Sudden and regular shortness of breath
  6. Fatigue and general body weakness
  7. Anxiety
  8. Lightheadedness and dizziness
  9. Near-fainting occurrences or fainting

How Long Can You Live with Irregular Heartbeat?

You should not gamble with your heart health at any given point of your life by waiting to see how long you can live with arrhythmia without seeking treatment. If you suspect any anomalies in the normal functioning of your heart, rush to an ER for an irregular heartbeat. Leave it you’re your doctor to determine whether or not your condition is fatal. Besides, if you treat heart rhythm disturbances, you are escaping from many other health complications that are indeed life-threatening.

If you have already been diagnosed with arrhythmia, you can live with the condition safely for many years. Some treatment approaches include:

  1. Taking prescribed medication diligently
  2. Getting a prescription from a doctor for any other health problem.
  3. Be keen on monitoring your pulse, especially if you are using an artificial pacemaker.
  4. Focus on prevention measures – particularly lifestyle changes like
    • Quit smoking and alcohol consumption
    • Reduce your caffeine intake
    • Avoid self-medication and self-prescription of any medication.
    • Change up your medication – especially antidepressants, psychotropic drugs, appetite suppressors, allergy, and cold medication, among others.

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