What is arrhythmia and should we be afraid of it?

What is arrhythmia and should we be afraid of it?

19/08/2022

Any change in heart rate is called an arrhythmia. A heart may beat too fast, too slowly, or irregularly. The consequences range from minor discomfort to potentially fatal. There are different types of the arrhythmia. The most common type of the arrhythmia in the world is atrial fibrillation with 37.6 million patients worldwide in 2017. (1) The arrhythmia is associated with an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and thrombosis, in the most severe cases, there is a risk of cardiac arrest. People with the atrial fibrillation suffer from a stroke 5 times more often than people without the atrial fibrillation. (2)

Symptoms which may indicate a heart rhythm disorder are

• a feeling that a heart stopped,
• rapid cardiac activity or palpitations,
• slow or irregular cardiac activity,
• pain or tightness in the chest area,
• increased fatigue or feeling of weakness,
• dizziness, fainting,
• shortness of breath.

Remember that many people with the arrhythmia may also not experience any symptoms at all. Even though most of the arrhythmias are considered harmless, if you experience irregular heart rhythms, seek an advice of your doctor! If cardiac problems occur daily, the heart cannot withstand the load, and the doctor concludes that the arrhythmia is clinically significant, he will develop a treatment plan. The arrhythmia is mainly treated with medication, but if the medication fails, there are also invasive treatments, and an electrical pacemaker may be necessary. The most optimal method of the treatment shall be determined by your doctor.

3 tips to prevent the arrhythmia
  1. A healthy lifestyle is important - a balanced diet and sports.
  2. Quit alcohol, caffeine and smoking, or limit their use.
  3. Control Your cholesterol levels and Your blood pressure.

References

1. Sheng-Chia Chung, Reecha Sofat, Dionisio Acosta-Mena, Julie A Taylor, Pier D Lambiase, Juan P Casas, Rui Providencia. The Lancet. [Online] July 6, 2021. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanepe/article/PIIS2666-7762(21)00134-4/fulltext#%20.

2. American Heart Association. American Heart Association. [Online] October 23, 2014. [Quoted: June 16, 2022] https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/arrhythmia/symptoms-diagnosis--monitoring-of-arrhythmia.

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