Arrhythmia is abnormal heart rhythm, which is excessively fast or slow. Your heat should beat regularly at approximately 70 beats per minute (bpm). Your heart may beat too fast due to anxiety, fear and exercise. For typically active athletes, their heart beat can be quite slow, while they are resting. Irregular heart beat is actually quite normal and it may happen briefly after you drink coffee. During early pregnancy, heart could also beat a bit faster. In other situations, arrhythmia could also be caused by abnormal electric conduction inside our heart, which is needed to set the proper rhythm for our heart. In fact, arrhythmia is a sign of the impending coronary artery disease, including heart attack. When the conduction system is severely interfered, failure will happen.
Thyroid is a gland in our neck that produces hormone for controlling the chemical reaction of our body. If our thyroid becomes too overactive, arrhythmia may happen. Some medicines could trigger arrhythmia. As an example, some antidepressants could cause fatal arrhythmia if you take it at higher dose. Astemizole and terfenadine is usually used to treat symptoms of hay fever. If they are taken regularly at higher dose, life-threatening arrhythmia can happen. Taking terfenadine with grapefruit juice could cause severe arrhythmia as well. Unfortunately for some people, we can inherit some types of arrhythmia. Genetic problems could cause issues with how our heart works. If arrhythmia happens regularly, our heart will not be filled with enough blood.
If your heart doesn’t pump out enough blood, your body will lack the needed oxygen. Brain will be the first affected by the lack of oxygen, making you feeling faint and dizzy. You will also have problem breathing, if your lungs don’t receive enough blood. If muscles of your heart don’t get enough oxygen, you will feel angina (heart pain) and eventually, heart failure. There are different types of arrhythmia that you should know:
- Atrial fibrillation: Atrial fibrillation is indicated by irregular and rapid beating of the upper chamber of your heart. It’s a common condition among elderly and those with highly active thyroid gland. This problem may not be life threatening, but if not treated, could progressively deteriorate heart functions.
- Ventricular arrhythmias: Ventricular arrhythmia is indicated by irregular and rapid beating of the lower chamber of your heart. It happens among people who have heart attack and usually, is life threatening. In developed countries, this problem causes plenty of deaths. People who have ventricular arrhythmias should be continuously monitored to prevent death.
- Palpitations: Palpitations are also considered as arrhythmia, which happens when your heart becomes excessively irregular or fast. However, mild palpitations are considered normal and only if they are excessive, then we could call them as arrhythmia.
If you have or want to prevent arrhythmia, then you need to have a self-care action plan. You should stop smoking and eat health, high-fibre diet. Daily exercise can strengthen your cardiovascular system, making them to work more stable. Anxiety and stress can cause your heart to beat faster, so you should manage them as well.