Heart Arrhythmias: Symptoms and Consequences
Are you feeling fatigued, or is your heart racing… has this ever happened to you? Most of the time it’s of no great consequence to your health, but sometimes it can be an indication of heart problems you need to consider. In this article we invite you to expand your knowledge about heart arrhythmias.
What is a heart arrhythmia?
At some point in your life, you might have had an electrocardiogram. When you have one, you can see a graphical representation of your heart’s electrical activity, and a specialist will evaluate the duration of your cardiac cycle and the overall function of your body’s electrical impulse system. Your doctor will be able to tell you if your arrhythmia is causing a mild – or serious – alteration of your normal heart rate, which can weaken it in the long run.
Types of arrhythmia
Sinus bradycardia. When you have this condition, your heart rate tends to be a bit slower than normal and it’s usually not very serious. Sometimes it can result from certain medications.
- Ventricular fibrillation. With this type of arrhythmia, the heart has inadequate electrical activity, which is highly dangerous. It requires immediate medical intervention. These events often occur in younger people who are engaged in a demanding exercise or sport, and frequently cause death. It’s a very sad, and serious, condition. The only indicator that you might be prone to this arrhythmia is having a family member or genetic background that predisposes you to it.
- Congenital Long QT Syndrome. This is another inherited disease, in which you’ll suffer short and sudden tachycardia and occasionally lose consciousness.
- Atrial fibrillation. About 50 percent of patients with this type of arrhythmia can go from a normal state to a sudden and violent arrhythmia, with few symptoms that allow you to predict the attack. The only treatment for this is a pacemaker.
- Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT). This arrhythmia usually manifests after intense exercise. It can last from a few minutes to several hours, then disappears. It is accompanied by a sharp chest pain and can be identified during childhood as an abnormality of the heart muscle. Therefore, regular checkups are important.
Symptoms of cardiac arrhythmia
Pay attention to the following symptoms that might indicate you have an arrhythmia. But above all, remember that any symptom – no matter how small – should be related to your doctor:
- Palpitations: obviously this is the most common symptom. They may occur after exerting yourself or even while you’re at rest and without provocation. But beware – sometimes you won’t notice the feeling in your chest, but rather in your neck. That’s important to remember.
- Dizziness: this symptom occurs very commonly after physical exertion. First you might notice an accelerated heart rate, then dizziness, followed by a loss of consciousness.
- Dyspnea or fatigue: maybe you feel the need to take deeper breaths after getting some exercise, even if you didn’t do very much. You feel a cold sweat and exhaustion coming on. Your head spins and you feel that strong pumping sensation in your chest – or the neck. This is very serious, so be sure to report it to your doctor.
- Heart failure: this symptom is very serious. If this is happening to you, you’ll more than likely be admitted to the hospital with the feeling that you can’t breathe. You’re on the verge of collapse and need immediate assistance.
- Syncope: this occurs when not enough blood reaches the brain and immediately, you faint. You might recover quickly and not assign it too much importance. But remember, all fainting has an origin and you need to inform your doctor. Even if you recover and feel just fine.
Guidelines for caring for the health of your heart
You probably already know that most heart problems are due to inherited genetic factors or even injuries during birth. But you also need to remember that 60% of deaths from heart problems can be prevented by keeping a healthy lifestyle. Follow these tips:
1. Watch your weight
Always try to maintain a healthy weight and avoid becoming obese.
2. Keep a balanced diet
This means to include plenty of fish, lean meats, nuts, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, and more…
3. Keep an eye on your cholesterol
This is very basic, because you know that there is nothing worse than high cholesterol levels to damage the body’s veins and arteries.
4. Get plenty of sleep
Between 7 and 8 hours a night is good for your health.
5. Get moderate but regular exercise
Try to get out and walk every day, or start running, or cycling … your arteries will be healthier and you’ll lower your blood pressure.
6. Reduce your levels of stress and anxiety
Take good care of your emotional state, and try to reduce the pressures of your daily life along with your worries. Say yes to a healthy lifestyle where you can enjoy time with your friends, family, and all the small things in life. Your heart will thank you!