Cardiac arrhythmia – Symptoms, types, causes & risk factors

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Cardiac arrhythmia

When our heart is normal, then the heartbeat is nice and regular and it has the right rate. The cardiac arrhythmia is a term which is used when the heartbeat is too fast, too slow or it beats in an irregular rhythm. The cardiac arrhythmia is one of the most common causes for heart disorders. In the most cases, people have occasionally cardiac arrhythmia. The cardiac arrhythmia is caused by a disruption of your heart’s normal electrical system which is regulating your heart rate and heart rhythm.

It is known that the severity of cardiac arrhythmia can vary tremendously. In the most cases, cardiac arrhythmias are benign and inconsequential but on the other hand, there can be cardiac arrhythmias which are extremely dangerous and life – threatening. Many of the cardiac arrhythmias, while not particularly dangerous, produce symptoms which can be disruptive for your life.

Symptoms

Cardiac arrhythmia

The cardiac arrhythmia can produce many different symptoms which can range from very mild or even none, to life – threatening. These symptoms are classified in two groups – classic and other. The “classic group” is a group of symptoms that should make a doctor to look specifically for the cardiac arrhythmia because these symptoms are caused by this condition. The “other group” is a group of symptoms which are just likely to be caused by other medical conditions.

  1. Classic symptoms: The most common classic symptoms are:
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Syncope
  • Lightheadedness
  • Palpitations
  1. Other symptoms: The symptoms which are in this group include:
  • Chest pain
  • Poor exercise tolerance
  • Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
  • Confusion
  • Generalized weakness

Types

There are different types of this arrhythmias. It is very important for your doctor to discover which type of this arrhythmia you have so in this way he or she will give you the proper treatment. All the cardiac arrhythmias can be classified into three types:

  1. Extra heartbeats: It is also known as premature heartbeat. When the extra heartbeats generate in the atria of your heart, then they are known as premature atrial complexes. A premature ventricular complex is a term which is used when they can arise in the ventricles of your heart. Usually, these conditions are benign but they can cause significant palpitations and some people find it disruptive.
  2. Bradycardia: This is a term which is used when cardiac arrhythmia is making your heart rate too slow. The sinus bradycardia is caused by a disorder of the sinus node. It is most common type of bradycardia. In rare cases, sinus bradycardia is life – threatening condition. Heart block is the most dangerous variety of bradycardia and happens when some or all of the electrical impulses generated by sinus node are blocked before they reach the ventricles.
  3. Tachycardia: This type of cardiac arrhythmia makes heart rate too fast. The supraventricular tachycardia is happening when the abnormal electrical activity is producing the arrhythmia either arises in the atria or it involves the atria. The ventricular tachycardia and the ventricular fibrillation are the most life – threatening types of cardiac arrhythmias and often, they cause sudden cardiac death.

Causes

We know that the cardiac electrical system is controlling the heart rate and it makes sure those different chambers of the heart contract in a completely coordinated way. These tasks are complex and intricate. For example, when the heart’s electrical signal travels from the atria to the ventricles and a difference in timing of just a tenth of second can make a big impact on the efficiency of the heartbeat. There are different factors which can cause cardiac arrhythmia, such as

  • Autonomic imbalance
  • Heart disease
  • Drugs
  • Genetic disorders
  • Aging
  • Electrolyte or metabolic disorders
  • Anesthesia
  • Cardiac trauma
  • Idiopathic

Risk factors

There are some factors which can increase your risk of cardiac arrhythmia, such as

  • Smoking
  • A current heart attack
  • Stress
  • Diabetes
  • Some kinds of medications and supplements, whether prescription or over – the – counter
  • Thyroid disorders, including hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism
  • Blocked arteries
  • High blood pressure
  • Genetics
  • Exposure to too much alcohol or caffeine
  • Abusing drugs
  • Heart disease
  • There is a scarring in your heart from a previous heart attack

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