Heart Arrhythmia - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
There are various heart conditions classified under heart disease. The names vary according to the type of health condition and how it affects the heart. One of the heart conditions classified under heart disease is Heart Arrhythmia.
One of the most prevalent types of heart arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib or AF. In the US alone, the annual cases of atrial fibrillation are about 2.3 million people.
What is Heart Arrhythmia?
Heart arrhythmia means a heartbeat rhythm problem or abnormal heartbeat. Most of the time, the heart beats rhythmically. Your heart can lose rhythm to either beat slowly, faster or in irregular patterns.
A heartbeat lower than 60 beats per minute or higher than 100 beats per minute is heart arrhythmia, also known as cardiac arrhythmia.
Arrhythmia mostly occurs when the heart's electrical signals which help in stabilizing heartbeats fail to function correctly. When you feel your heart racing or fluttering (also known as heart palpitations), then you might be having an arrhythmia.
Types of Arrhythmia
- Bradycardia – Slow rhythm with low heartbeat rate less than 60 beats per minute
- Tachycardia – Fast rhythm with a heartbeat rate faster than 100 beats per minute
- Bradyarrhythmias – Slow rhythm caused by a disease such as sinoatrial node
- Ventricular arrhythmias – Arrhythmias that originates from the heart's lower chambers or in the ventricles
- Supraventricular arrhythmias - Arrhythmias that originates from the hearts upper chambers or atria
Other Types of Rhythm Disorders
Adams Stokes Disease – A block that interrupts the heart's electrical signals from upper or atria to the lower chambers or ventricles.
Atrial Flutter – It is a rapid firing of electrical signals causing quick contraction by hearts atria's muscles (upper chamber).
Wolf-Parkinson-While Syndrome (WPW) – It is the malfunctioning of the heart's atria (upper) and ventricles (lower) chambers' electrical pathways. Electrical signals then reach lower chambers prematurely.
Sick Sinus Syndrome – Sinus node fails to fire electrical signals and hence slows the heartbeats.
What Causes Arrhythmias?
The leading cause of arrhythmias is abnormal electrical signals responsible for heart muscle impulses, which translate to heartbeats. Some conditions can cause abnormal electrical signals and hence cause arrhythmias.
Some of the various conditions that can affect heart muscles electrical signals are:
- Blood electrolyte imbalances such as potassium or sodium
- Coronary artery disease
- Cardiomyopathy or Changes in the heart muscle
- High blood pressure
- Disorders of the heart valves
- Heart injury from the effects of heart attack
- Recuperation from heart surgery
- Some medications
Risk Factors of Arrhythmias
Various risk factors can lead to heartbeats variations. Some of these factors are:
- Heart attack
- Congenital heart defects
- Some medicines
- Substance abuse
Symptoms of Arrhythmias
Arrhythmia's symptoms vary with each heartbeat condition. However, general signs and symptoms include:
- Slow or fast heartbeat
- Heartbeat skipping or fluttering
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
- Feeling unexplainable tiredness or fatigue
What Prevents Arrhythmia?
If your heart is healthy, you should maintain it that way to avoid heart diseases such as arrhythmia. Live a healthy lifestyle by:
- Avoiding smoking (direct or passive)
- Avoid sugar and grains and highly processed foods.
- Limit your use of alcohol
- Eating a healthy low-fat diet – no fried foods
- Limit usage of caffeinated drinks
- Exercise regularly
- Schedule for regular medical checkups, especially when you are past 40 years.
If you have an existing arrhythmia, your initial step is to understand the type of arrhythmia. Is your arrhythmia the slow-rate heartbeat or the fast-rate? You may need to find out what causes your case of arrhythmia, could it be another heart condition, or is it your lifestyle?
Once you understand your heart case and condition, you may know how to prevent arrhythmia triggers or symptoms.
How to Prevent Triggers for Existing Arrhythmia
To prevent triggers in an existing arrhythmia, you may require doing the following:
- Follow your doctor's instructions and advice
- Eat a healthy diet
- Live a quality lifestyle while avoiding arrhythmia triggers as listed above in prevention.
Your doctor may know the best method to use for your arrhythmia treatment. Depending on your arrhythmia case, your doctor might prescribe the following:
- Drugs to stabilize your heartbeat rate whether low or high
- Medications to treat any other condition responsible for the arrhythmia
- Blood-thinner drugs such as aspirin or warfarin to prevent other severe heart diseases such as stroke.
Arrhythmia Alternative Treatment
There are various alternative treatments for arrhythmia heart disease. However, you may require consulting your health practitioner for the best therapy and advice. The following are some of the recommendations from our natural health practitioner, Yvonne Dollar Perc.
Rejuvenaid is a dual-pathway Nitric Oxide (NO) Generator for vasodilation and cardiovascular health. Nitric Oxide production is vital to cardiovascular health.
Passionflower is well known for its support to the nervous system. In traditional herbal medicine, passion flower is widely recommended for its gentle tranquilizing sedative properties
Eight contains white willow which has traditionally been used for short-term relief of pain and is designed to support the nervous systems.
Continue enjoying a healthy heart by observing what goes in your mouth. Be careful to choose a healthy diet low in fat. Arrhythmia is one of several other heart diseases. One of the causing factors of heart arrhythmia is Coronary Artery Disease.
Within the past 30 years of clinical experience, Yvonne has put together with the help of Nature Sunshine, a list of products which can benefit your intestinal system. It is always best to have a consultation with Yvonne before guessing as to what you need.
Coronary artery disease is our next discussion in the Heart Disease series. You don't want to miss reading it. You'll learn how cholesterol can buildup to form plaque which damage your arteries. The damage can then cause Coronary Artery Disease. Be on the lookout for next in series, Coronary Artery Disease. Over the course of the next 8 weeks, we will be covering in detail, the list of the common heart diseases, their causes, symptoms, and treatment. Be sure not to miss any of the articles we post.
Live a healthy lifestyle and exercise regularly to maintain your body and health.
Remember, make your health your wealth!!
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Editor: Yvonne Dollard Perc
Research Assistant: Elizabeth Njuguna
Designer: Sherry Robb