Arrhythmia (Irregular Heartbeat): Meaning, Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Cardiac arrhythmia is a cardiac anomaly that occurs due to an irregular heart rhythm.

Arrhythmia (Irregular Heartbeat): Meaning, Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
Arrhythmia (Irregular Heartbeat): Meaning, Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Definition: what is arrhythmia?

Cardiac arrhythmia is an irregular heart rhythm and is referred to when the heart beats too fast (tachycardia), too slowly (bradycardia) or irregularly without reason. It is the most common cardiac problem and according to cases, it can be either temporary or permanent.

The most common form of cardiac arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation which occurs when the electric signal from the heart is disturbed.

Atrial fibrillation mainly affects people over the age of 60.

Symptoms of arrhythmia

The intensity of symptoms of cardiac arrhythmia varies from one person to another. This is because the problem can go completely unnoticed as it is extremely embarrassing. When it is discovered, arrhythmia often shows the same clinical signs, which include:

- cardiac palpitations

- intense fatigue

- shortness of breath

- tightness in your chest

- a drop in blood pressure

- syncope (loss of consciousness)

Causes of arrhythmia

Many things can cause cardiac arrhythmia such as stress, tobacco use, alcohol abuse, drugs or caffeine, as well as some medication.

The people who are the most at risk are those with hereditary illnesses, diabetes or heart conditions like a coronary heart disease, hypertension or a heart attack in the past.

Treating arrhythmia

The treatment of cardiac arrhythmia differs depending on the type of anomaly. In terms of bradycardia, a pacemaker (heart regulator) can be installed close to the heart. This pacemaker sends pulses to the heart when it beats too slowly.

In terms of tachycardia, different treatments are available. The doctor can prescribe medication (beta-blockers, anti-arrhythmic agents, anticoagulants, etc.) which reduce how often you take them.

Radio frequency ablation is used for certain types of cardiac arrhythmia. A catheter is inserted into a blood vessel and carried to the heart where an electrode then heats up the cancerous tissue in order to destroy it.

Finally, inserting a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is also possible.

It is strongly recommended that your habits are adapted in order to have a healthy lifestyle: quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, stress and risks of obesity.

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