Irregular Heartbeat

There are many different irregular heartbeat types that affect various parts of the heart as well as cause various different concerns or dangers. While some abnormal heart rhythms are extremely serious, others are mild in comparison. If you feel as though you may have an abnormal heart beat, you should speak to your doctor about your concerns to get help in discovering why kind of abnormality you are experiencing and the cause of the irregular rhythm. This can be done through a series of tests and can even help you to find the cause as well as a treatment for your specific rhythm.

Types of Rhythm Abnormalities

If you have ever looked into abnormal heartbeats before, you will know that they can affect any area of the heart and cause many different reactions making the beat of your heart abnormal. If you haven’t found yourself curious enough to read into abnormal heart rhythms, then you should know which irregular heartbeat can cause which reaction. Each of these causes its own worries and can even require medications and other treatments to control.

Tachycardia

There is tachycardia which is an increase of the hearts rhythm and can happen in the upper chambers (supraventricular tachycardia), in the lower chambers (ventricular tachycardia), or for a short period due to excitement or illness (sinus tachycardia). You will also learn that tachycardia can push your heart rate to 100 beats per minute or more and can cause severe problems. This can be incredibly dangerous if left untreated.

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation is an abnormal beat occurring in the upper chambers of the heart and can cause an increase of the heart rate to rise to 200 beats per minute. This afib heart rate is incredibly dangerous when it occurs and has been known to kill people if untreated. It is also the most common irregularity. It should be known that this increased heart rate does not occur all the time, but rather when electrical signals to the heart become unstable. Many people with afib require a pacemaker to correct the unstable beat before any severe damage can be done.

Atrial Flutter

Atrial Flutter is another irregular rhythm of the heart and can be caused by a single electrical signal that is traveling a little too fast. This normally affects the right atrium but has been seen affecting the left atrium as well, even though it isn’t as common. Flutters aren’t as serious as afib or vfib, but should still be monitored closely by a doctor. While it is said that a flutter beat may not kill you, your doctor should still be made aware of the issue and help you to control the problem.

Ventricular Fibrillation

This irregularity can stop the heart if untreated or not treated properly. This happens specifically in the ventricles where the blood exits the heart for the body and organs. One of the major concerns with vfib is the possibility of cardiac arrest. If you have been diagnosed with vfib, you should consider a pacemaker to keep your heart going in times of arrest.

Bradycardia

Bradycardia is a slow rhythm of the heart that is caused by a slow signal. Generally, the rate will fall below the 60 beats per minute mark, and can even disrupt the ventricles as they push blood to the rest of the body. A slow heart rate can be an incredible concern and a doctor should keep an eye on you and your heart rate to correct this irregularity. You may even be asked if you wish to have a pacemaker or other fibrillation device available to keep your heart from arresting when the signals become disrupted.

Premature Contractions

Everyone has heard of someone’s heart skipping a beat in a romance novel or movie, but nobody realizes that this could be a heart condition as well. This irregularity is extremely faint, but it could also include extra beats as well. You may not feel this when taking your pulse in the wrist or through your chest, but in some cases a doctor may catch it and diagnose the issue as a premature contraction. It can occur in either the upper or lower chambers of the heart but normally doesn’t include serious problems.

Risks

An untreated heart rate irregularity can cause serious problems including stroke and memory loss. It may be difficult to see the connection between the two, but there is a strong connection between afib and stroke. Atrial Fibrillation can cause blood to pool in various places in the heart and other areas of the body. When blood pools it begins to clot, if this occurs all it takes is an irregular beat to send the clot to the brain causing a stroke. Memory loss can affect a wide array of functions including verbal such as names, people, and words. Stroke victims also suffer from problems with short-term memory, as well as long term memory and can be extremely serious depending on the memories lost.

Living with Atrial Fibrillation

Since AF or Atrial Fibrillation is the most common heart beat irregularity, it may be good to know that living with afib is possible. There are many treatments out there that can help control your afib symptoms such as medications and technology. You may need to have a pacemaker surgically implanted in your chest, but life is still possible with this difficult condition. As an example, in the book; One Year, a young man tells his story of a year in his life after being diagnosed with a heartbeat irregularity. This did not stop him from the life he wanted to live, and it shows that even though you may need to take things easy, you can still do many of the things that you love to do.

Alcohol

Heart problems and alcohol don’t exactly mix well, but there will be times of celebration where you may not be able to turn down that glass of champagne or wine. Even though it isn’t recommended to drink in large quantities, afib and alcohol shouldn’t be a problem if your afib is properly treated and you are controlling how much you drink. Since alcohol is a trigger for some of the symptoms of afib, it isn’t recommended that you have more than a glass or two with dinner. Although if you are concerned, you can speak with your doctor to get more information about the risks you may face while drinking and your condition.

Odd Benefits of Alcohol Beverages

While moderate drinking for women is one glass or drink a day, and two for men. Though there are some benefits that may seem odd that while they won’t help with your afib, could still benefit the heart. For example, you may have heard that red wine is good for the heart. This is not exactly an old wives tale to get people to buy more red wine, but rather there is more truth in this than some of the other crazy things we believe. Red wine has polyphenols which are antioxidants, these antioxidants can actually protect the blood vessels in the heart. Whiskey even has its benefits for to the heart such as eliminates blood clots, helps the immune system, boosts good cholesterol, and can slow the onset of dementia. It is just best to take these things in moderation and avoid becoming intoxicated routinely with irregular heart problems.

Cautions

If you think you may have an irregular heart rhythm, you should speak to your doctor about the issue right away. There are many signs that can help you to determine if your heart has an irregular beat such as dizziness, light-headedness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations or irregular pulse, pain in your chest, sweating, and pale skin. There are also many different causes of an irregular heart rate such as coronary heart disease, medications you may be taking, illness, surgery, low potassium or electrolytes, heart abnormalities, and other heart conditions. You should also be aware of risk factors such as smoking, family history, diabetes, weight problems, sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, high blood pressure, and stress. It is also important to educate yourself and others of the dangers and risks of these risk factors. Knowing about the probability of heart problems and the causes can help you to possibly detect these problems early enough to treat them before things become serious.

Education

Many people are learning about heart risks, including irregular heart rhythms, to protect themselves from the risks included with these problems. Proper education and treatment can help to extend your life and the lives of those around you if you are educated properly about the risks. It is also important to see your doctor regularly if you have heart conditions in your family as early treatment can help to prevent serious effects of arrhythmia and other heart conditions. Things such as afib, vfib, and tachycardia can cause other health problems if left untreated and you are unaware of the triggers for your specific arrhythmia.

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