The Major Symptoms for Arrhythmia and What You Need to Do About Them

On any given day, your heart pumps a whopping 100,000 times, pushing 2,000 gallons of blood through your body. And it does so at a pace set by electrical signals that control your heart’s rhythm to ensure that nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood flows regularly to sustain life on a cellular level. If these electrical impulses slow down or speed up, it causes an arrhythmia, disrupting your flow of blood.

At Heart Rhythm Associates, we specialize in general cardiology and cardiac electrophysiology. Under the expert guidance of Dr. Van H. De Bruyn, we help people in the Little Rock, Arkansas, area overcome conditions like arrhythmia, giving them the tools they need for optimal cardiac function.

But recognizing the signs of arrhythmia isn’t always easy, which is why we’ve pulled together the following review of what to look out for and the steps we can take to correct the condition.

The many shades of arrhythmia

Arrhythmia is a catchall term for a number of different conditions that affect your heart’s rhythm, causing it to beat too fast, too slowly, or erratically.

The most common form of arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation, or AFib, which involves the two upper chambers of your heart, or the atria. When these chambers contract irregularly, it hampers the flow of blood down to your ventricle chambers. AFib can be episodic or a permanent condition.

Other forms of arrhythmia include:

These conditions may come and go or remain a constant companion.

Knowing the signs of arrhythmia

One of the biggest problems with arrhythmias is that the symptoms aren’t always obvious. In many cases, you may be unaware of the condition until a routine doctor’s visit uncovers the problem (which is a great reason to keep up with your regular wellness visits).

That said, arrhythmias can cause certain symptoms that you should be on the lookout for, such as:

In some cases, your lightheadedness may lead to full-on fainting or near fainting, which is a symptom that’s hard to ignore.

Taking action

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms or your doctor has discovered a rhythm problem in your heart, we urge you to come see us as soon as possible.

When you sit down with Dr. De Bruyn, he reviews your symptoms, as well as your medical history. He also draws samples of your blood to check for any telltale signs of a problem that may be causing your arrhythmia.

After listening to your heart, he typically orders advanced testing, such as an echocardiogram and an electrocardiogram. Since arrhythmias can come and go, he may outfit you with a portable unit called a holter monitor, which records your heart’s activity over 24-48 hours.

If he confirms a problem with your heart’s rhythm, he tailors a treatment plan to fit your unique circumstances. Since arrhythmias can be caused by any number of things, from smoking and caffeine to pre-existing conditions like diabetes, your treatment plan will zero in on the potential underlying causes of your arrhythmia.

Dr. De Bruyn may also recommend medications, as well as more aggressive measures like ablation or the installation of a pacemaker.

The bottom line is that it’s critical to your health that your heart beats at a regular pace. If you develop an arrhythmia, early treatment is the best solution. Simply call the office to get started.

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