What are cardiac arrhythmias? When are they dangerous and when are they not?
- What is a heart rhythm disorder?
- What causes heart rhythm disturbances?
- What to do if we feel that our heart is beating irregularly?
- Can you live normally with arrhythmia?
What is a heart rhythm disorder?
Heart rhythm disturbance, also known as cardiac arrhythmia, is a general term for any abnormality in the regular rhythm of the heartbeat. A healthy person’s heart beats regularly and in a coordinated manner, allowing blood to be pumped efficiently throughout the body. However, if you have a heart rhythm disorder, the rhythm may be too fast, too slow or irregular. Therefore, heart rhythm disturbances are most often felt as an uneven heartbeat.
What causes heart rhythm disturbances?
Cardiac arrhythmias may be caused by various factors, both physiological and pathological.
The most common causes are:
- heart diseases,
- stress and emotions, lack of sleep, physical exertion,
- stimulants such as smoking, alcohol, drugs or even excessive coffee consumption,
- hormonal disorders,
- electrolyte disorders,
- nervous system disorders,
- genetic diseases.
What to do if we feel that our heart is beating irregularly?
The most important thing is to stay calm, because stress can make the arrhythmia even worse. If you feel that you are feeling weak or that you may lose consciousness at any moment, call 112 or 999 as soon as possible and call an ambulance. In case of symptomatic arrhythmia, it is not advisable to drive motor vehicles due to the risk of sudden loss of consciousness.
However, when we feel that our condition is not very serious and the arrhythmia only causes us mental and physical discomfort, it is recommended to sit down and let the body rest for a while.
If it was a one-time event during which we felt that our heart was beating erratically, we should consider what could have caused this condition. Maybe a sudden effort, stress or maybe another coffee that day? It is worth noting the circumstances in which arrhythmias occur (e.g. situations, emotions, physical activity), which may be helpful for the doctor in making a diagnosis.
But if the situation repeats itself and we feel that the arrhythmia is affecting us more and more often, we start to feel shortness of breath or chest pain, we should go to a primary care doctor to perform some tests, i.e. ECG or blood tests.
It is very possible that the doctor will recommend a test, the so-called Holter ECG. This is a test that allows you to record ECG for a longer period of time, e.g. 1 or 3 days. Depending on the results, the primary care physician will either recommend treatment himself or refer us to a cardiologist or hospital.
Can you live normally with arrhythmia?
You can live normally with arrhythmia, especially if its attacks are mild and do not lead to serious complications. Many people have arrhythmias that do not cause significant health problems or limit their daily life.
For mild arrhythmias that do not cause significant symptoms and are not related to heart disease, patients can:
- lead an active lifestyle,
- to do sports,
- to travel,
- enjoy family and social life.
However, if the arrhythmia is more severe, symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, fainting are common, or if the arrhythmia is associated with other heart conditions, specialized treatment and monitoring may be necessary.
People diagnosed with arrhythmia should regularly monitor their health under medical supervision, follow recommended treatment and implement healthy lifestyle recommendations to minimize the risk of complications and lead an active and satisfying life.
Source material: https://forumkardiologiczne.pl/artykul/co-robic-gdy-twoje-serce-bije-nierowno/30664