Also known as arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat does not need to cause panic if it only happens occasionally, because most cases are harmless.
An irregular heartbeat can obviously be alarming, and a sign of a serious problem. However, it is also a problem that can, in most instances, be effectively treated.
Here are some of the reasons why this issue occurs and some of the associated symptoms.
Irregular Heartbeat Causes
Also known as an arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat can be caused by many things, such as:
- Drinking caffeine
- Drinking alcohol
- Fever or other types of illness
- Hard, physical exercise
- Dietary supplements such as motherwort, oleander or ephedra
Irregular Heartbeat Signs & Symptoms
Irregular heartbeat symptoms are not all that uncommon. You may feel that your heart is beating faster than normal, or feel a fluttering type of sensation in your chest.
There are several different irregular heartbeat symptoms. Sometimes the issue is barely noticeable, while other times it can be extremely alarming. These are a few of the signs that you will need to get medical help.
- Chest pain
- Rapid, pounding heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
Unless your irregular heartbeat occurs regularly or it causes other symptoms, it should probably not be a cause for concern. However, if you experience shortness of breath, lightheadedness or dizziness, you should get medical help.
If you experience any of the following, however, you need emergency medical assistance:
- Excessive sweating
- Loss of consciousness
- Pressure, pain or a strange feeling in your chest
- Pain or pressure in your upper belly, jaw, neck, back, or in one or both arms or shoulders
Irregular Heartbeat Diagnosis
There are several tests that a doctor can perform to help diagnose the cause of an irregular heartbeat and to determine the right plan of treatment. An electrocardiogram, or EKG (also referred to as an ECG), is the most common. Small electrodes are placed on different areas of the body so that the instrument can properly measure the electrical activity of the heart.
Irregular Heartbeat Treatment
The type of irregular heartbeat treatment a doctor will recommend will determine the type of arrhythmia being experienced, as well as the seriousness of the condition. In many instances, medications are used to control heart rhythm. In others, lifestyle changes are recommended. There are some instances, however, where a surgical procedure may be needed.
If you suffer from an irregular heartbeat, get to your nearest Complete Care medical facility to have an examination performed. Our doctors will quickly get to the root of the issue and then determine the course of treatment that will be best for you.