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Arrhythmia – Symptoms and Causes

Arrhythmia is a heart disease. This condition happens when the electrical impulses that are coordinating your heartbeats are not working properly and they are causing your heart to beet too slow, too fast or having irregularly heartbeat. This disease can be felt like racing heart or flattering and in many cases they are harmless. But in other cases they are causing problems in your life and stopping you to do the everyday activities. The most medical treatments are for controlling fast or irregular heartbeats. In some cases this disease can be worse than the situation in which you are. If you are having heart-healthy lifestyle, then you can reduce arrhythmia.

Symptoms of Arrhythmia

Many times this disease is not showing any kind of sign or symptom. Your doctor can find arrhythmia before you can feel it by taking some tests. Some cases having noticeable signs and symptoms are not meaning that you have serious problem. Here are some of the noticeable signs and symptoms [1]:

  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • A fluttering in your chest
  • A slow heartbeat (which is known as bradycardia)
  • A racing heartbeat (which is known as tachycardia)
  • Fainting (syncope) or near fainting
  • Light-headedness

When to see a doctor? When you have arrhythmia you are feeling slow or racing heartbeats. Also your heart will not function properly. That means that its pumping function will not be effectively done because you have slow or racing heartbeats. If you feel some of the signs and symptoms (such as weakness, chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, discomfort, light-headedness and fainting or near fainting), then you should visit your doctor. If your symptoms are getting worse, then you should seek urgent medical help. You will do the medical treatment from your doctor if you want to have better health. Listen to his or her advice and take all the medicines that are needed.

Arrhythmia - Symptoms and CausesCauses of arrhythmia

Here are causes of arrhythmia:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol or caffeine
  • High blood pressure
  • Drug abuse
  • Air pollution
  • Stress
  • Overactive thyroid gland (hyper-thyroidism)
  • Underactive thyroid gland (hypo-thyroidism)
  • Blocked arteries in your heart (this condition is known as coronary artery disease)
  • Electrical shock
  • A heart attack that is occurring right now
  • Certain prescription medicines
  • Changes to your heart’s structure, such as from cardiomyopathy
  • Scarring of heart tissue from a prior heart attack
  • Certain dietary supplements and herbal treatments

Types of arrhythmia: Medicine experts are classifying arrhythmias not only be the place-ventricles or atria but also by the heartbeat speed:

  • Tachycardia– this means that the heart beats too fast; more than 100 beats a minute
  • Bradycardia– this means that the heart beats too slow; less than 60 beats a minute

Risk factors: Here are some risk factors than can increase your chances to get arrhythmia:

  • Diabetes: If your diabetes is not controlled, then you are having increased chances to get high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. [2]
  • Drinking too much alcohol: If you are drinking too much alcohol, then the electrical impulses in your heart will be increased and also will increase the chances to get atrial fibrillation. [3]
  • Caffeine or nicotine use: Caffeine and nicotine can increase the chances to get more serious types of arrhythmia. If you are consuming illegal drugs, then your chances to have arrhythmia are increased and also are increased the chances of sudden death. [4]
  • Obstructive sleep apnea: This is condition in which your breathing is interrupted during the sleep. This disease can increase the chances of atrial fibrillation, bradycardia and other types of arrhythmias. [5]
  • Ruined electrolytes balance: Electrolytes (such as calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium) are helping to trigger and conduct the electrical impulses. Electrolytes levels which are too low or too high can be a reason to get arrhythmia. [6]
  • High blood pressure: If you are having high blood pressure, then your risk getting coronary artery disease is increased. Also this could be reason of stiffing and ticking of the walls on your left ventricle which can change the balance of electrical impulses which can cause you arrhythmia. [7]


[1] Hansson A, Madsen-Härdig B, Olsson B. Arrhythmia-provoking factors and symptoms at the onset of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation: A study based on interviews with 100 patients seeking hospital assistance. BMC Cardiovascular Disorders. 2004.

[2] Grisanti LA. Diabetes and arrhythmias: Pathophysiology, mechanisms and therapeutic outcomes. Frontiers in Physiology. 2018;9:1669.

[3] Day E, Rudd JHF. Alcohol use disorders and the heart. Addiction. 2019 ;114(9):1670–8.

[4] Pesta DH, Angadi SS, Burtscher M, Roberts CK. The effects of caffeine, nicotine, ethanol, and tetrahydrocannabinol on exercise performance. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2013;10:71.

[5] Almeneessier AS, Alasousi N, Sharif MM, et al. Prevalence and predictors of arrhythmia in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep Science. 2017;10(4).

[6] Laslett DB, Cooper JM, Greenberg RM, et al. Electrolyte abnormalities in patients presenting with ventricular arrhythmia (from the LYTE-VT study). The American Journal of Cardiology. 2020;129:36-41.

[7] American Heart Association News. More intense blood pressure control may lower irregular heartbeat risk. 2020. Retrieved from

Dr. Emil Sarsath (aka) Vijila, a licensed naturopathic doctor (BSMS) who always ensures his patients receive compassionate, and individualized care. He has extensive experience in primary care, digestive health, mental health, nervous system disorder and more.Area of Expertise – Naturopathic Medicine, Whole Foods-based Nutrition, Siddha, Panchakarma.She is always available through [email protected]


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