Causes and Treatments
are caused when electrical impulses in your heart that coordinate the
heartbeat do not function properly or are out of sync. The heart can
beat too fast or too slow or just irregularly.
your heart beats 100,000 times per day an arrhythmia is not that
uncommon. Most arrhythmias are harmless. People may feel a brief
irregular heartbeat that feels like it skipped, or in some cases like
your heart is racing. It is important to have a doctor make that
diagnosis because some arrhythmias can be dangerous and life
may not produce any signs or symptoms. Sometimes you can detect a
fluttering in the chest, or a racing or slow heartbeat. There could be
chest pain or a shortness of breath. In some cases the sufferer could
experience lightheadedness, dizziness or a fainting sensation (syncope)
or near fainting.
Just because you
feel a symptom does not mean you have a life threatening condition and
in some cases people who have no symptoms have a life threatening
arrhythmia. There are some common causes for heart arrhythmias
including heart disease, obesity, smoking and damage to the heart due to
heart attack. Some prescription drugs can cause arrhythmia.
imbalance can cause arrhythmias. An imbalance in potassium, sodium,
calcium and magnesium can cause an electrolyte imbalance. Some
supplements including ephedra can also increase arrhythmia risk. Some
over the counter cold medicines can also cause the problem.
There are some
genetic problems that can arrhythmia. Diabetes can increase the risk.
High blood pressure will increase the risk and so will obstructive sleep
apnea. This is a common condition that affects 1 in 5 men and 1 in 10
women. Most sufferers do not realize they have the condition because it
occurs when they are asleep.
According to the
Mayo Clinic you should seek medical attention if you feel premature
beats, or you may feel that your heart is racing or beating too slowly.
You should also seek medical attention if you have a shortness of breath
or wheezing, weakness or dizziness or feel like you are about to faint.
Arrhythmias can cause sudden death and a person that suffers from one
may collapse and soon stop breathing. Call 9-11 and begin CPR.
medications doctors can prescribe to treat arrhythmias. You may also
perform Vagal maneuvers. These include holding your breath and
straining, dunking your face in ice water or coughing. These maneuvers
can cause your heart beat to slow down if you are experiencing a rapid
Some doctors may
prescribe beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, potassium channel
blockers and digitalis. It all depends on your arrhythmia. In some
cases surgery may be required or the implantation of a pacemaker.
By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer
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