In an ideal world, your heart keeps a steady pace — about 60-100 beats per minute — rhythmically pumping out oxygenated blood to your body. When there’s a problem with this rhythm — it’s too fast, too slow, or irregular — you have an arrhythmia, which can cause problems.
At Advanced Cardiology Specialists, our experienced and skilled team of heart health experts helps patients with arrhythmias, which affect up to 5% of the population in the United States.
Though some arrhythmias can make themselves plainly known, milder ones can be more subtle. To help you recognize whether you might have an arrhythmia, read on to learn more.
Before we get into five of the more common signs of an arrhythmias, we want to quickly review this condition. Under normal circumstances, each heartbeat starts with an impulse from your sinus node, a group of cells in your upper right atria. This electrical impulse then travels through the upper and lower chambers of your heart through conduction pathways to contract different areas of your heart to push blood through.
With an arrhythmia, there’s an issue with the electrical activity in your heart that causes an irregular heartbeat.
There are many different types of arrhythmia, and some are perfectly harmless, while others place you at greater risk for serious heart disease issues, such as heart attack or stroke. The most common type of arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation, which is predicted to affect more than 12 million people by 2030.
Common signs of an arrhythmia
Although some arrhythmias are silent and we only discover them through testing, many do make themselves known, most often with
A heart palpitation is an awareness of your heartbeat. When you have an arrhythmia, your heart rate can be too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia) or irregular. As a result, you may become more aware of your heartbeat, which can feel like:
These palpitations can come and go and occur when the electrical activity in your heart is going a little haywire, for lack of a better word.
2. Dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting
If you have an arrhythmia that’s compromising the flow of blood to your brain, you may feel lightheaded or dizzy, especially when you stand up from sitting. This lightheadedness can sometimes lead to fainting.
3. Weakness and fatigue
An ongoing arrhythmia that interferes with how blood is circulating through your body can leave you abnormally weak and fatigued. For example, a simple flight of stairs can prove exhausting.
4.Shortness of breath
As we;ve discussed, an arrhythmia can negatively impact how your heart pumps blood and if it isn’t doing so well, you can experience shortness of breath.
5. Chest pain or pressure
This symptom is tricky and one that should never be taken lightly. An arrhythmia that leads to chest pain or pressure in your chest can also lead to more serious cardiac events.
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, it’s time to come see us for an evaluation. The good news is that, if we find that you have an arrhythmia, we offer a number of different solutions that can restore your heart to a more regular rhythm.
For excerpt diagnosis and care of arrhythmias, please contact our office in Mountain View, California, to set up an appointment.