Home » Heart Health » Arrhythmias Explained: Types, Causes, and Symptoms
Do you ever experience a flutter in your chest or an irregular heartbeat? These could be signs of an arrhythmia, a common but often overlooked heart condition. We’ll explore the different types of arrhythmias and their symptoms, empowering you to take control of your heart health.
A cardiac arrhythmia is an irregular or abnormal heartbeat or heart rhythm.
Arrhythmias occur when the electrical impulses that direct and regulate heartbeats fail to function correctly. These electrical impulses may be responsible for the heartbeat.
Arrhythmia affects 1.5 to 5% of the general population.
Arrhythmia can be categorised as follows:
Based on heart rate-
Based on the origin-
Based on the regularity-
Bradycardia is an arrhythmia characterised by slow heart rate. slow heart rate. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including heart disease, medications, and electrolyte imbalances.
The following conditions can contribute to a slowed heart rate:
Symptoms of bradycardia include
Tachycardia is characterised by a heart rate that exceeds 100 beats per minute.
This rapid heart rate can impair your heart’s ability to pump blood. Your ventricles may be unable to fill with sufficient blood to pump to the rest of your body.
If this condition only lasts a few minutes, it is likely not serious. If it lasts longer than 30 minutes or is accompanied by chest pain, however, you may need immediate medical attention.
Ventricular tachycardia (VT) is a type of arrhythmia that occurs in the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart). It is characterized by a rapid and irregular heartbeat, and can be a life-threatening emergency if it is sustained. Ventricular tachycardia (VT) typically affects individuals with heart disease or heart-related conditions, such as coronary artery disease or a previous heart attack, but it can also affect individuals with structurally normal hearts.
Symptoms of Ventricular Tachycardia include:
Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a type of arrhythmia that occurs in the atria or the atrioventricular (AV) node. It is characterized by a rapid and regular heartbeat.
Symptoms of Supraventricular Tachycardia include:
In severe cases, individuals with atrial or SVT may also experience:
Atrial Fibrillation is the most prevalent type of cardiac arrhythmia, affecting 2.7 million adults in the US. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a type of arrhythmia that occurs in the atria (the upper chambers of the heart). It is characterized by a rapid and irregular heartbeat, and can lead to blood clots, stroke, and heart failure if left untreated.
Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation:
Atrial flutter is a type of arrhythmia that also occurs in the atria. It is characterized by a rapid heartbeat(sometimes up to 300 bpm),and a pulse rate up to 150 bpm.It can lead to blood clots and stroke if left untreated.
Symptoms of atrial flutter are similar to those of AF, and include
A sinus arrhythmia is a common type of heart rhythm disorder that occurs when the heart beats too fast or too slow. The root cause of sinus arrhythmias lies in the sinus node, which is the natural pacemaker of the heart. The sinus node, located in the right atrium, is responsible for controlling the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat. However, when the sinus node malfunctions, it can lead to an irregular heartbeat.
This can cause a variety of symptoms, including :
Usually, Sinus arrhythmias do not require any treatment.
Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) are a type of arrhythmia that occurs when a ventricular contraction occurs before the next normal beat. PVCs can be benign, or they can be a sign of an underlying heart problem. Symptoms of PVCs include palpitations, chest pain, and fainting.
Arrhythmias are a group of heart rhythm disorders that can cause a range of symptoms, from mild discomfort to serious health problems. There are many different types of arrhythmias, each with its own unique set of symptoms and causes. Understanding the different types of arrhythmias and their symptoms is essential for accurately diagnosing and treating these conditions.
If you experience symptoms of an arrhythmia, such as a racing heartbeat, lightheadedness, or chest pain, it is important to see a doctor for an evaluation. With the right diagnosis and treatment, most people with arrhythmias are able to manage their symptoms and live a healthy, active life.
The causes of arrhythmias can include underlying medical conditions, such as heart disease or high blood pressure, as well as stress, anxiety, certain medications, and lifestyle factors.
Arrhythmias are typically diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical exam, and diagnostic tests, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) or wearable heart monitoring device.
The treatment of arrhythmias will depend on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. Options can include medications, lifestyle changes, and in some cases, a pacemaker.
Some arrhythmias can be prevented by managing underlying medical conditions, avoiding triggers, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Occasional irregular heartbeats are common and usually not a cause for concern. However, if you experience persistent or worsening symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention.