Your body is an incredibly efficient machine that, more often than not, sends up warning flags when something’s amiss. And this is very much the case when it comes to your all-important heart. The key, however, is understanding — and heeding — these warning signs, especially when it comes to potentially dangerous conditions like arrhythmia, which can lead to heart failure and/or stroke.
At Advanced Cardiovascular Specialists, our team of highly regarded experts specializes in heart health and understands the importance of early intervention. To that end, we’ve pulled together the top five signs that you may have a heart rhythm problem, otherwise known as an arrhythmia.
Skipping, racing, and pausing
At its core, an arrhythmia is a problem with the electrical system that controls the pumping of your heart, which can lead to irregular or abnormal heart rate. To you, this may feel like fluttering, skipping, or racing. You may also feel a pause between heartbeats, or your heart may be beating more slowly than usual.
Though it’s perfectly normal for your heart to race in certain situations — a sudden scare or after a workout — an arrhythmia typically causes sensations that occur with more regularity and without cause.
Shortness of breath
As your arrhythmia progresses, you may experience shortness of breath, which often leads to anxiety that further exacerbates the issue. Here again, look for this symptom outside of obvious situations in which you’ve exerted yourself.
Fainting or lightheadedness
If your heart rate is too slow, your body may not be getting the oxygen it needs, which can lead to lower blood pressure and fainting and dizziness. When we say fainting, you may not actually faint, but you may feel like you’re going to in certain situations like standing up too quickly.
If you do faint and you’re experiencing other symptoms like sweating and nausea, please get medical care right away.
Chest pain or tightness
This symptom is one that indicates a more serious arrhythmia. Any time you feel chest pain, it’s cause for concern, and you should seek our help right away. In fact, if you experience sudden pain, you should dial 911.
If the feeling is more gradual and you experience pressure or tightness building in your chest, you should come in to see us as soon as possible so that we can evaluate the problem.
Fatigue is a symptom that’s often hard to define as everyone has their own version of the problem. If you’re feeling run-down and can’t seem to muster any energy — for no apparent reason — it may have something to do with your heart. And if you feel fatigue alongside any of the symptoms we outlined above, it’s definitely worth having us take a look.
If you suspect you may have a problem with your heart’s rhythm, it’s paramount that you come see us for a comprehensive assessment. Using advanced diagnostic tools, such as an electrocardiogram or echocardiogram, we can quickly identify whether there’s an arrhythmia and get you started on an appropriate treatment plan, which may include:
- Prescription medications like blood thinners
- A pacemaker
- A cardioverter defibrillator
- A catheter ablation
In addition to these treatments, we will also likely recommend lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and quitting smoking.
If you suspect you may have an arrythmia, your first step is to contact one of our two offices in Mountain View and Watsonville, California, to set up an appointment.