The human heart is a remarkably complex organ, and it powers blood flow throughout the body with an intricate sequence of electrical impulses. This electric activity is designed to ensure that your heart maintains a regular and predictable rhythm, and it allows for the appropriate amount of blood to flow to the other organs in the body at all times.
When there is a problem with these electrical impulses, it often results in the heart beating at an irregular rhythm, which is also known as an arrhythmia. There are several different types of arrhythmias that can affect your heart, and the symptoms associated with them can vary from non-existent or mild to life-threatening. You should consult a heart specialist as soon as possible if you think you are experiencing symptoms related to any of the following heart arrhythmias.
1. Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation (also known as AFib) is the most common heart rhythm disorder in the US, according to the American Heart Association. The heart consists of the upper chambers known as the atria, and the lower chambers known as the ventricles, so atrial fibrillation occurs when the atria beat out of rhythm. AFib can affect anyone, and its most dangerous consequence is an increased risk of stroke.
Tachycardia refers to rapid heartbeat, and it can sometimes be normal in the case of overexcitement or intense physical activity. What’s more serious is the condition called paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), which occurs when a surplus of electrical signals result in extra heartbeats.
3. Ventricular Fibrillation
Ventricular fibrillation, as the name suggests, is the result of the lower chambers of the heart not pumping adequately. This condition is much more immediately life-threatening than atrial fibrillation, and it requires emergency treatment in order to shock the heart back into rhythm.
4. Premature Beats
Many times, premature beats go unnoticed in patients, as they can occur and resolve themselves without the presence of any symptoms. If you’ve ever felt like your heart was fluttering, you may have been experiencing premature beats. In some cases, they can be managed through lifestyle changes recommended by a doctor, such as changes in diet or exercise.
A normal heartbeat for adults is considered to be 60 beats per minute, and if it is slower it is a condition called bradycardia. Bradycardia may cause no symptoms in otherwise healthy people, but if it occurs due to pre-existing heart disease treatment may be required.
If you believe your heartbeat may be out of its regular rhythm, schedule a consultation with Dr. Dilip Mathew at Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A. today. Dr. Mathew is a Cardiac Electrophysiologist who is dedicated to helping patients in the Sarasota area manage heart rhythm disorders.