When the doctor tells you that you have heart arrhythmia, it is not necessarily a dire thing. An arrhythmia is a heart rhythm problem that is common and for most people, not harmful at all.
Your heart produces electrical impulses which fire off to regulate your heart beat. When these electrical impulses become irregular, you may experience heart beats that are too slow, too fast or fluttery.
While most arrhythmias are not life-threatening, those that are associated with a weak heart, artery disease or some other congenital defect or health problem can be. When heart arrhythmia becomes serious, it can produce some troublesome symptoms. A clean and healthy lifestyle with a good diet, exercise and no smoking can definitely help though.
Causes of Arrhythmia
The most likely causes of heart arrhythmia or health conditions that could lead to arrhythmia include hypertension, smoking, caffeine or alcohol abuse, stress, diabetes or other metabolic syndromes, heart disease and even the use of illicit drugs. Some medications both over the counter and prescription can also cause arrhythmias in addition to herbs and supplements.
If you have had a heart attack before, you could have scarring on and in the heart muscle. This scarring could disrupt the electrical impulses that fire and regulate your heart beat. There are other conditions that may cause scarring as well and include infection and disease. W
hen you are in good health and develop arrhythmia, there is usually an outside trigger that kicks off this condition such as the use of illegal drugs or even sustaining an electrical shock.
There are pre-existing physical problems that can contribute to arrhythmia including congenital defects to the structure of the heart. These defects could be the result of damage to the muscle tissues of the heart itself and a reduction in the blood flow into the heart.
Heart disease may also cause arrhythmia and you may or may not be aware that you have one of the diseases. Here are some examples that could contribute to arrhythmia:
1. Cardiomyopathy Blood pumping ability is reduced due to the thickening of ventricle walls causing stiffness.
2. Coronary artery disease Arteries leading to and from the heart are affected restricting blood flow to the muscle. When this occurs, the accumulative effect is that part of the heart actually dies.
3. Valvular heart disease The valves of your heart leading in and out of the atrium and ventricles could be affected causing the heart muscles to thicken thereby hindering the blood pumping action. The valves could leak or become too narrow for proper blood passage.
Your arrhythmia may originate in either the ventricles or atria but they are also classified by the speed of how fast your heart beats.
Tachycardia is a fast heartbeat, usually over 100 beats a minute while the bradycardia is the opposite, heart rate at rest under 60 beats a minute. It is important to note that everyone at some point or another experiences bradycardias and tachycardias due to exercise or even temporary illness.
Treatment is not always so easy to pinpoint. It depends on a number of factors including whether or not you show signs of heart disease. Some options that treat arrhythmia include medication, surgery, implantable devices like pacemakers or even certain types of electrical shock.
The bottom line is to work on the things you can control like a proper diet, exercise and abstaining from smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. The rest is up to the doctor and the specific treatment they decide is best for you.