An arrhythmia is defined as an irregular heartbeat. Essentially, you have arrhythmia if your heart beats too slowly, quickly, irregularly, or early. This means that having arrhythmia means that your heartbeat is out of the normal rhythm. In many cases, arrhythmias are harmless. But if they’re especially abnormal or caused by a damaged or weakened heart, they can result in severe symptoms.
With this in mind, don’t hesitate to visit us here at Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center, APMC, in West Monroe, LA, if you feel that something’s off with your heartbeat, but are not feeling any other severe symptoms. Dr. Virginia Gonzalez will be able to determine whether your arrhythmia is harmless or something to be concerned about.
Different Kinds of Arrhythmias
The most common heart arrhythmia is AFib or atrial fibrillation and it occurs in the heart’s top chambers. It happens when plenty of volatile electrical signals fail, causing your atria to quiver uncontrollably. Mainly, AFib increases your heart rate and makes it erratic.
This occurs when your heart beats too quickly, causing it to beat more than 100 BPM or beats per minute.
This is characterized by a slower than normal heart rate, causing the heart to beat less than 60 BPM. It happens when electrical impulses that travel from your atria to your ventricles are disrupted. Do note though that some people in great physical health, athletes, for instance, usually have slower heart rates, which is normal for them.
AFL or atrial flutter usually occurs in the heart’s right atrium, but can also affect the left atrium. It’s caused by an electrical signal that travels quickly in the atrium, resulting in a fast heart rate.
In most cases of premature contractions, your heart seems to miss a beat when your pulse is taken in your chest or wrist. Others, however, include early and extra heartbeats. All these can happen in the lower and upper chambers.
VF or ventricular fibrillation is an immensely dangerous arrhythmia that affects the ventricles. VF stops the ventricles from pumping blood out of the heart to the brain and body because of the irregular heartbeat. Worst-case scenario, it could stop your heartbeat and lead to cardiac arrest, even death, if not treated right away.
Symptoms of Arrhythmias
If you have an arrhythmia, you might feel the following symptoms:
- Irregular heart palpitations or pulse
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, or faintness
- Pale skin
Concerned about irregular heartbeat?
As mentioned above, many arrhythmias are usually harmless. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t worry if you have an irregular heartbeat, especially if you heart disease risk factors or have already been diagnosed with heart disease. Just to be on the safe side, visit us at Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center, APMC, West Monroe, LA. Schedule your appointment by calling (318) 338-3540. Dr. Virginia Gonzalez will check out your symptoms to figure out what’s causing your arrhythmia.