Types of Heart Rhythm Disorders
In order to keep the right amount of blood flowing through your body, your heart muscle has to pump at a particular pace and rhythm. Heart rhythm disorders, which cover any variation from a normal heartbeat, can cause a range of symptoms and complications. Common heart rhythm disorders – referred to collectively as ‘arrhythmias’ – include changes in the heart rate, electrical impulse problems, heartbeat irregularity and improper heartbeat sequencing.
Electrical impulses control the flow of blood through the heart by signaling the chambers of the heart muscle to contract and expand. When those electrical impulses fail to operate correctly, the heart has to work harder (and less efficiently) to pump blood to the body.
Some people are born with arrhythmias, such Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, while others develop them later in life. Common types of arrhythmias include:
- Atrial fibrillation, in which electrical impulses from different areas of the atria cause a rapid, irregular heartbeat.
- Atrial flutter, in which electrical impulses from the right atrium lead to an increased heart rate.
- Congenital arrhythmias, in which people are born with extra electrical pathways that increase the number of electrical impulses sent between the chambers of the heart.
Arrhythmias Signs and Symptoms
Keep an eye out for common arrhythmia warning signs such as:
- Feeling of fluttering or palpitations in the chest
- An abnormal heartbeat, either too slow or too rapid (a normal heart rate is approximately 60 to 100 beats per minute, but may be faster or slower depending on activity levels, fitness levels and other factors)
- Chest pain
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
- Shortness of breath
While many people with arrhythmias experience these symptoms, some patients demonstrate no warning signs, and others have symptoms that turn out to be unrelated to a heart rhythm disorder. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or suspect that you have an arrhythmia for any other reason, visit a doctor for screening and diagnosis. If your symptoms become frequent or severe, seek immediate medical attention.
Heart Rhythm Disorder Natural Treatments
When faced with heart rhythm disorder, or arrhythmia, many patients choose to explore natural treatments. They want to avoid prescribed medications or surgery. We support patients in choosing a natural remedy, so long as it proves useful. Various natural remedies for arrhythmia seem to make a difference.
For example, you could take foundational supplements that are high in multiple vitamins and minerals. By taking these on a daily basis, you can improve your heart’s natural rhythm. On the other hand, magnesium has proven quite effective at delivering oxygen to the heart muscle. It significantly relaxes the coronary artery, and thereby increases the heart’senergy production. Alternatively, several diet options can calm a fluttering heart. You can avoid caffeine and drink more water. You could also work to soothe your stress. Whatever option you choose, be sure to speak with a heart specialist beforehand for a proper diagnosis.
Types of Heart Rhythm Disorders
Even if you have a healthy heart, in perfect condition, you may still experience arrhythmias. However, most patients experience arrhythmias as a result of heart disease, heart attack-related injuries, and post-surgery healing. In any case, we need to consider multiple types of arrhythmias before we diagnose any single one.
Premature ventricular contractions (or PVCs) are among the most common arrhythmias. In layman’s terms, these are “skipped heartbeats.” Most of us feel them on occasion. Caffeine and stress can commonly cause PVCs. Premature atrial contractors, on the other hand, are early, extra heartbeats that begin the upper heart chambers. These chambers are known as the atria. These heart rhythms are typically harmless and require no treatment. Finally, many patients experience atrial flutter following a heart surgery. In these cases, the heart’s upper chambers beat too quickly.
Heart Rhythm Disorder Signs
Throughout your lifetime, it’s entirely possible to experience abnormal heart rhythms without ever knowing it. Specific rhythm patterns, however, can be dangerous — or even deadly. For example:
- Palpitations – This pattern can feel like your heart “skipping a beat.” What you actually feel is an early heartbeat – an extra rhythm before the heart has an opportunity to fill with blood, therefore resulting in an uncommon pause.
- Fluttering – A fluttering feeling is commonly due to an extra heartbeat – one occurring immediately after the other. Abnormal heart rhythms are also common reasons for wavering feelings.
- Bradycardia – Also known as a slow heartbeat, bradycardia means there is not enough blood carrying oxygen throughout the entire body. Your heart is beating too slowly (usually under 60 beats a minute).
Speak with a specialist at Brookhaven Heart if you suspect that you have any of these conditions.
What is the normal heart rhythm (sinus rhythm)?
First, a normal sinus rhythm refers to both a regular heartbeat and rhythm. A normal sinus rhythm is deemed to be anywhere from 60 to 100 beats per minute.
Sinus arrhythmia is a term used to describe the normal increase in a person’s heart rate that occurs from regular breathing activity; sinus tachycardia is a term for the fast uptick in a person’s heartbeat rate as a result of exercise or stimulants.
When your sinus rhythm isn’t functioning in accordance with this scale, it is deemed an arrhythmia – an abnormal heart rhythm. This sounds scarier than it may be; a heart arrhythmia could be a result of many things and is a normal condition to have.
What are treatment options for this heart rhythm irregularity?
When it comes to treatment for arrhythmia, or an irregular heart rhythm, there are many options out there.
Treatment does depend on the severity and specific type of the arrhythmia – for instance, for some individuals, treating an arrhythmia only involves light changes in lifestyle such as eating a healthier diet; for others, this type of heart malfunction may need close medical attention and possible surgery. There are some generally advised precautions to take, however, no matter the scale of your arrhythmia – smoking is a definite no-no, and stimulants such as coffee and alcohol are prohibited.
If you have questions about treatment options for your heart rhythm irregularity, don’t hesitate to call Brookhaven Heart today!
What happens in the heart to cause an arrhythmia?
First, one common misconception regarding heart arrhythmias is that they’re always a result of unhealthy activity or an unclean lifestyle – this is a false assumption! There are many causes and varying types of heart arrhythmias, and many healthy people have irregular heart rhythms.
Heart arrhythmias could be caused by many different factors: a sustaining injury from a heart attack, the wrong balance of electrolytes in your blood, or changes in your heart muscle are all possible causes.
Here at Brookhaven Heart, we’re happy to offer our expert assistance in answering your questions about heart health and treatment options – give us a call today!
Get Treatment for Heart Rhythm Disorders
People experiencing some of the signs of a heart rhythm disorder or arrhythmias can contact Brookhaven Heart to schedule a screening and discuss your symptoms and treatment options with a doctor.