Cardiac Signs and Symptoms: Do You Have a Heart Rhythm Disorder?
It may come as a surprise to you to learn just how many people are walking around with a heart rhythm disorder and simply don’t realize it.
There are a number of specific signs and symptoms that need to be heeded when it comes to heart rhythm disorders and this info from Abbott EP might help to fill some gaps in your knowledge on help that is available for this potentially fatal condition.
A heart rhythm disorder is known as arrhythmia and it is a term to describe a scenario where your heart’s electrical system is malfunctioning, causing the normal rhythm of your heartbeat to become affected.
The type of abnormality that is creating this problem will cause your heart to react in a number of different ways, either it will begin to beat too fast or too slow, with irregularity, or not at all.
The cause of this heart rhythm disorder could be due to problems directly attributed to the so-called electrical wiring within your body that is known as the SA node or the AV node, or the ventricular conducting system.
The issue might potentially be to other influences such as electrolyte abnormalities in your bloodstream or due to abnormal hormone levels, such as an overactive thyroid.
Your cardiac or heart muscle cells are prone to becoming irritated when they are not able to receive the usual amount of oxygen required, which is a scenario that describes what could be occurring when you have a heart attack and the blood vessels that supply your heart with blood become blocked.
Some variations are normal
It is worth pointing out that a good number of us could experience heart rhythm disturbances and never actually be aware of them at all.
Many of us will experience premature atrial contractions and premature ventricular contractions, so you may well find that you heart has taken an extra beat, without you being aware of this fact.
Although some variations in your heartbeat are normal, if you are experiencing these irregularities on a regular basis and are suffering from palpitations, which is a sensation that your heart is beating quicker than you feel it should be, that should be a warning flag to get these symptoms checked out.
Decreased cardiac output
If you experience a heart rhythm abnormality, it could easily lead to other symptoms developing.
Decreased cardiac output will often induce feelings of nausea, weakness, shortness of breath, even vomiting or chest pains. Other common symptoms include feeling very lightheaded and if the situation becomes critical, you may well collapse to the ground and could potentially lose consciousness.
If this happens, you may well be experience what can often be a life-threatening dysrhythmias such as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation.
In simple terms, your heart may end up beating so fast that your body is rendered incapable of supplying sufficient blood to your brain, which is also the effect if your heart is beating too slowly.
Time to see a doctor
If you are experiencing any of these classic symptoms that have already been outlined such as dizziness, chest pain and shortness of breath, you should seek urgent medical attention, so that your condition can be evaluated and monitored.
It should be remembered that ventricular fibrillation is one particular type of arrhythmia that could prove potentially fatal if the symptoms are not addressed.
Someone who has ventricular fibrillation will invariably collapse within a very short space of time, followed by a lack of breathing or a pulse. An emergency 911 call is required in this situation and someone with CPR training on hand, might be required to try and create a blood flow again.
Reducing the risk
There are aspects of your lifestyle that can influence your chances of an arrhythmia, for the better or worse.
Smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol are obvious health issues that many of us are aware of, and it is probably not a surprise that these can be contributory factors that increase your risk of suffering from a heart rhythm disorder.
Being diagnosed with diabetes will be another factor that could raise your risk-profile together with issues such as stress and sleep apnea, to name a few issues that can make you more susceptible to a problem with your heart rhythm.
There are quite a few different types of arrhythmias and it is always advisable to get a professional diagnosis if you are experiencing any noticeable symptoms with your heartbeat or related issues.
It is far better to get it checked out and do something about it than to become the reason for a 911 call.
Sienna Barnes is at medical school and has high hopes of one day becoming a heart surgeon. She enjoys writing articles, her way to unwind and de-stress at the end of a day when her brain can’t switch off!