Arrhythmia – Causes and Symptoms of Arrhythmia

Arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat and is also called as dysrhythmia.The heart rate is abnormal and also irregular. Arrhythmias can occur with slow heart rate that is less than 50 beats per minute or more than the normal heart beat that is faster than 100 beats per minute. In United States, more than 850,000 people are hospitalized with this disorder of the heart each year.

What causes an arrhythmia?
The causes for arrhythmia include:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Drug abuse
  • Medications like sedatives and tranquilizers and anti-depressants
  • Scarring of the heart tissue
  • High blood pressure
  • Overactive thyroid gland
  • Excessive alcohol or caffeine intake
  • Stress
  • Dietary supplements and herbal treatments

Other Factors
Certain factors increase the risk of developing arrhythmia. They include:

  • Age: As the age progresses, heart muscle weakens and loses its flexibility and this may affect the electrical impulses causing arrhythmia.
  • Genetics: Born with an abnormality in the heart can affect your hearts rhythm.
  • Coronary Heart disease: Narrowed arteries and any other heart damage can result in variations in the heart rhythm.
  • Drugs and Supplements: Over the counter medications for cough and cold also can cause arrhythmia very rarely.
  • Obesity: Obese People are at higher risk of developing this abnormal heart rate disease.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea: This kind of sleeping disorder, can cause bursts of arrhythmia.
  • Electrolyte imbalance: Electrolytes like sodium, magnesium and calcium can contribute to the development of arrhythmia whether the levels in your body are high or low.
  • Alcohol or nicotine intake: Chronic alcohol use and drugs like nicotine and caffeine can cause your heart to beat faster and can result in serious arrhythmias or sudden death of the patient due to ventricular fibrillation.

Arrhythmias may not cause any symptoms.The doctor may find you have an arrhythmia during a routine examination. Some of the symptoms that are noticed in people include:

  • A racing heartbeat
  • A slow heart rate
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • A fluttering in your chest
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

When to consult your doctor?
Seek medical help immediately without wasting time when you notice these symptoms. Ventricular fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia that is very dangerous and in this case the patient collapses suddenly. If this occurs call the emergency medical services as soon as possible.

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