What Do You Need to Know About Heart Rhythm Disorders?

Posted on April 3, 2019

What is Heart Rhythm Disorder?

A heart-rhythm-disorder is also known as dysrhythmia, arrhythmia, or simply irregular heartbeat. The condition affects the heart and comes in various ways. That is when the heart is beating too slowly, too fast, or even in an unpredictable pattern. The following are the four categories of heart rhythm disorder.

  • Tachycardia: This happens when the beating of the heart tends to be too fast than normal.
  • Premature-contraction: This is also known as an early heartbeat.
  • Bradycardia: This is the heartbeat that is too slower than what is normal.
  • Fibrillation or flutter: The condition causes the heart to beat erratically, in a manner that is totally unpredictable. This can also be referred to as an irregular heartbeat.

Heart Rhythm disorder

Some Known Facts about Heart Rhythm Disorders

  • The condition may vary from one individual person to another.
  • Some types have no symptoms at all
  • The most common signs are heart palpitations, breathlessness, and dizziness.
  • Causes range from alcohol and drug abuse to mental stress, HBP, and diabetes.
  • The condition does not always indicate an illness.

What Causes the Heart to Develop Rhythm disorders?

The heart of a normal human being should have between 60 to 100 bpm (beats per minute). However, this is of always the case.

A normal person can have a heart rate that is lower than usual. For instance, individuals who are regarded to completely fit have a heart rate that is very slow.

A good example is an athlete or a long distance runner. Most of them have a resting heart rate that is below -bpm. The reason behind this is that their hearts are more efficient and requires little energy to pump good.

There are many situations that can result in arrhythmia. Some of the most common ones are named below.

  • HBP (High Blood Pressure)
  • Alcohol and drug abuse including cocaine, amphetamines, tobacco, prescription medicines, etc.
  • Too much intake of caffeine (mostly that found in coffee)
  • Emotional, mental, and physical stress
  • Heart problems such as CAD and congestive heart failure
  • Diseases like diabetes, thyroid disease (hyperthyroidism), and anemia.
  • Fever or other similar infections
  • Changes in the structure and working of the heart. This can be as a result of cardiomyopathy.
  • Factors linked to genetics
  • Particular supplements and herbal medicines

Heart Rhythm disorders can also be brought about by issues with the SA (sinus-node). This is the point where the electrical impulses that control the normal beating of the heart come from. When it has problems, the heart rate may become faster, erratic, or very slowly.

To some people, when not treated, the condition can progress to more advanced complications such as cardiac arrest, heart failure or stroke.

It’s not common to succumb to the long term effects of this condition until the external causes are triggered. Some common triggers include smoking, excessive use of caffeine and alcohol, and electric shock.

What are the Symptoms?

Sometimes it’s normal for the heart to beat either too slowly or faster. It all depends on the activities that one is engaged in. For example, the heart can beat very slowly while sleeping, and very fast during strenuous physical exercises.

At other times, irregular heartbeats may indicate a more serious problem and most people can understand when they have an arrhythmia especially when they develop some of the following symptoms.

  • Chest discomfort or pain (also called Angina)
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Lowing or racing heartbeat
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Having trouble when exercising or concentrating
  • Sweating or diaphoresis
  • Shortness-of-breath
  • Having palpitations
  • Experiencing dyspnea (breathlessness) or syncope (feeling like you want to faint, or actually fainting)
  • Light-headedness

Some types of this disorder such as ventricular-fibrillation can cause death. People are therefore advised to seek help from a doctor as soon as they experience any of the above symptoms.

Diagnosis: How is Heart-Rhythm-Disorder Diagnosed?

For the treatment to take place, the doctor must first diagnose the condition. This will help them understand what actually triggers the problem.

You will be examined in various ways. Your doctor will look at your medical history and that of your family. He/she may interview you about different things such as your lifestyle, the kind of diet you take, etc.

The following are the tests that will be used to diagnose the Heart Rhythm Disorder.

  • Chest X-Rays
  • ECG or ECK test (Electrocardiogram test)
  • EP-Studies (also called electrophysiologic-testing)
  • Urine and blood tests.
  • Echocardiogram-test

Remote Cardiac Monitoring

This includes the use of a device that can be used to record various symptoms as they occur. The details are then sent to the doctor for further review. An example of such a device is a Holter-Monitor which can be worn for about two days.

Cardiac Event Recorder

This works on an event or when a certain symptom is experienced. The device is usually placed on the chest where perfect monitoring is made. It can be worn for about a month in order to give excellent results. When using the cardiac event recorder, you are required to avoid other electronic devices such as mobile phones. These materials alter the signal of the monitor yielding poor results. Recorded data or information is then sent to the doctor.

Treatment: How is Heart Rhythm Disorder Treated?

Treatment may involve surgery or prescription of drugs. This is based on whether the symptoms are severe or not The following are the ways in which this condition is treated.

  • ICD (Implantable-cardioverter-defibrillator): This is a small device that doctors use to monitor the rhythm of the heart. It’s placed beside a patient’s clavicle (or collarbone). The device rectifies the rhythm when it detects that the heart is beating too fast.
  • Ablation-therapy: This involves the fitting of a medical device into a patient’s body through the vessels. Catheters are commonly used devices. Once inserted, they have the ability to recognize when the heartbeat is fast or slow. Upon recognition, they correct the situation right away.
  • Drugs /Medications: These may either work or not They are used to reduce most of the symptoms while helping the SA node to conduct electrical impulses effectively.
  • Cardio-version: Professional doctors can use this method to reset the rhythm to normal. This can be either through medication or use of electric shock. Other treatments can also be performed such as maze procedure, vagal-maneuvers, coronary bypass surgery, and ventricular aneurysm-surgery.

Most heart conditions are fatal and need a lot of attention. The patient should seek immediate help from a qualified doctor without hesitation to save his/her life.

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