Heart rhythm disturbance or arrhythmia is a condition where the heartbeats are irregular. These disturbances disturb the electrical system of the heart to beat either fast or slow, or in an irregular way. Heart rhythm disturbances feel as if there is an increase in the heartbeat and at times, it is harmless. However, some types of arrhythmias can cause serious problems.
If you ever find something unusual with your heartbeat, get medical assistance immediately so that doctors can find out the reason and its solution.
Symptoms of Arrhythmia
Arrhythmia may be silent which means that you may not feel any symptoms. Your doctor may identify irregular heartbeats during a physical examination. Sometimes, people with severe arrhythmia may not have any symptoms, whereas a person with symptoms may not have a severe arrhythmia.
The symptoms are solely based on the type of arrhythmia. The common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Dizziness and fainting
- Tiredness or weakness
- Blurred vision
- Sweating heavily
Causes of Arrhythmia
Any disturbances that interrupt the electrical impulses of the heart can result in arrhythmia. The causes of arrhythmia can be physical, genetic or due to medications.
The use of antibiotics and other medications can cause arrhythmia in some people. The medications used for the following conditions can trigger arrhythmia:
- High blood pressure
Any previous cardiac damage due to decreased blood flow in the vessels of heart leading to scarring of heart muscle can also cause arrhythmia. Other medical conditions that affect the heartbeat include:
- High blood pressure or low BP
- Electrolyte imbalance(Low/high sodium, potassium or calcium)
- Overactive Thyroid gland
- Congestive heart failure
Certain physical and lifestyle factors can also cause arrhythmia including:
- Drinking and smoking
- Emotions like stress or anger
- Severe cough
- Some dietary and herbal supplements
Diagnosis of Arrhythmia
To diagnose this condition, your doctor has to determine irregular heartbeat and the reason for it. Your doctor will ask you about your previous medical history, lifestyle and diet. Your doctor may use different tests for diagnosing arrhythmia namely:
- Urine and blood test
- Chest X-ray
- Echocardiogram(Heart scan)
- Treadmill Test(TMT)
- Electrophysiologic test
Treatment of Arrhythmia
The treatment for arrhythmia is required only if the condition becomes severe and causes complications. Before deciding the treatment option, your doctor will determine if your condition causes serious symptoms or other medical issues.
If you experience only a fast heartbeat without any other symptoms, your doctor may suggest you a vagal maneuver, which affects the vagus nerve and controls your heartbeat. This technique includes:
- Keeping face in cold water or keeping a wet or cold towel on the face
- Holding breath during straining
Your doctor may also suggest medications to treat irregular heartbeats. If medications do not help you, you may require cardioversion where the electrical shock will be given to the chest wall, at a hospital set up, to bring back the regular rhythm of your heart.
If any of the above measures does not control your heartbeat, your doctor may conduct minor operative procedures such as catheter ablation, implanting a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD).
Experiencing Heart Rhythm Disturbances? Meet Dr. Hari Kiran
If you or your loved one have an arrhythmia, visit Dr. Hari Kiran who is an experienced cardiologist in Hyderabad. He is proficient in treating patients with different heart diseases. Call now to book your appointment.