Arrhythmias are any change from the normal sequence of the electrical impulses in the heart. An arrhythmia is when your heart cannot pump blood effectively. It may happen to fast, to slowly, or it may happen erratically. When arrhythmias occur; the lungs, brain, and other organs cannot work properly and they may shut down and be damaged. A normal heart beat is strong, muscular pump that is a little larger than a fist and pumps blood continuously through the circulatory system. Arrhythmias can be harmless or life threatening.
They can be brief and not affect the overall rhythm of the heart. A slow heart ate is when the heart pumps less than 60 beats per minute. A fast heart rate pumps more than 100 beats per minute. Tachycardia is the term used for a fast heart rate. A fast heart rate can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or a fluttering feeling in the chest. Tachycardia can start in the lower chambers, or ventricles, in the heart or the upper chambers, ventricles, in the heart. At these elevated rates, the heart is not able to pump enough oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.
Some risk factors for this condition are if someone has high blood pressure, have poor blood supply from the coronary artery, ave a heart valve disease, have heart failure, have heart muscle disease, have tumors, have certain infections, have thyroid disease, some lung diseases can cause tachycardia, an electrolyte imbalance, have a heart attack, have congestive heart conditions, an inflammatory or have degenerative heart conditions, have chronic lung disease, and even having emotional stress and alcohol and drug abuse can cause tachycardia.
Symptoms of tachycardia are shortness of breath, dizziness, sudden weakness, fluttering in the chest, light headedness, and fainting. Certain test can be done to monitor and diagnose tachycardia. The test includes an electrocardiogram, which is a EKG, an ambulatory electrocardiogram, an electrophysiology study, and a medication trial. Treatment ranges from mediation to surgery.
Thousands of tachycardia patients each year get an implantable defibrillator that monitors the heart and deliver lifesaving therapies to treat the slow rhythm. Some patients get an ICD, which stands for implantable cardioverter defibrillator, which is an external defibrillator. Bradycardia is the term used for a slow heart rate. If the heart is pumping to slow, it is not supplying the body with sufficient oxygen.
Causes of bradycardia include an underactive thyroid condition, an electrolyte imbalance, some medications and certain heart medications can cause bradycardia, having a hereditary heart defect, certain illnesses, the natural ageing process, having scar tissue from having a heart attack, having sick sinus syndrome, your natural pacemaker not working as it should be, have some sort of heart blockage, and/or having the electrical impulse that travels from the upper chamber of the heart to the lower chamber of the heart is irregular or is blocked.
Symptoms include dizziness and fainting, chronic lack f energy, shortness of breath, and fainting. Risk factors for bradycardia include certain types of heart disease, certain medicines, being the age of 65 or older, and if one has had recent heart surgery. One is at a greater risk of bradycardia if they have certain types of heart diseases. There are different ways to diagnose bradycardia which include an electrocardiogram (EKG), a stress test, a holter or event monitor, an external loop recorder, an insertable cardiac monitor, a tilt- table test, and an electrophysiology study.
Treatment for bradycardia are having a pacemaker implanted. Pacemakers re small devices under the skin, below the collarbone on the left side or the right side of the chest. Pacemakers contain a battery and a computer circuitry in a metal case to correct slow heart rhythms. They frequently monitor the heart and sends out small detectable electrical signals to correct the bradycardia. Dysrhythmia is the term for an abnormal heart rate. The heart rhythm may be irregular in its pacing or the heart rate may be low and then high again.
All types of arrhythmias have the potential of becoming life threatening, but dysrhythmia is one of the most threatening types. To help diagnose dysrhythmias, one can use an electrocardiogram, or EKG, a stress test, echocardiograms, a holter monitor, event monitors, an electrophysiology studies, a head-up-tilt-table test, and using a cardio catheterization test can help diagnose the arhythmia. The treatments for dysrhythmias varies from medications, to medical procedures, to medical devices, to supportive care.
The devices that can be used are cardiac pacemakers and implantable cardioverter pacemaker which are also mentioned above as treatments for tachycardia and bradycardia. The causes for arrhythmias can come from almost all heart ssues which can come from a start of an impulse of the arrhythmia that can generate a heartbeat an interrupt the normal heartbeat, arrhythmias can also come from the natural pacemaker which can develop an abnormal rate or rhythm, or if the normal conduction pathway is interrupted, or another part of the heart takes over the pacemakers, plus the causes mentioned above with the tachycardia, bradycardia, and dysrhythmia.
Symptoms include, fatigue, dizziness lightheadedness, fainting or near fainting spells, which were also mentioned above with the tachycardia, bradycardia, and dysrhythmia. The symptoms also include a rapid heartbeat or pounding, short breath, chest pain. Extreme reasons include collapsing and sudden cardiac arrest. The treatment goals are to prevent blood clots from forming and to reduce the risk of having a stroke, to control the heart rate, to restore the normal heart rate if possible, to treat the heart disease or condition, and to reduce the other risk factors that come with having a heart disease or condition.
Some daily routines can contribute to arrhythmias. Caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, cold and cough medications, appetite suppressants, psychotropic drugs, which an be used for depression, anxiety, and other therapy issues. Antiarrhythmic and betta blockers can also contribute to arrhythmias even though they are prescribed to help with arrhythmias; street drugs, like cocaine, marijuana, and meth, are also some contributors.
To manage risk factors, one can try to keep their blood pressure down, control their cholesterol levels, keep an active life, eat healthy, and avoid tobacco smoke. There are many different types of medications to help with arrhythmias which are, antiarrhythmics, calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, and anticoagulants. Antiarrythmics are to help symptomatic tachycardia and premature beats. Calcium channel blockers or calcium antagonists interrupt the movement of calcium that is going into the hearts blood vessel tissue.
Beta blockers decrease the heart rate and cardiac output, which lowers blood pressure by blocking the effects of adrenalin. Anticoagulants or “blood thinners” work by making it hard for the blood to clot; they are not designed to dissolve existing blood clots. To get the best output of the medications, one should take the medication exactly as they are prescribed. Never stop taking the medications unless one has talked to their doctor or prescribers.
If side effects do occur, one should talk to their doctor or prescriber about them; and if one has any other medications, tell the doctor or prescriber about them, even the over the counter medications and vitamins. In conclusion, heart abnormalities or irregular heartbeats are very serious and many things can cause arrhythmias. Even though there are ways to help prevent arrhythmias, one cannot prevent themselves from it; so, it is best to make yourself aware of the symptoms and risk factors.