The heart is the most important muscle in your body because it pumps oxygenated blood to every cell and organ. When your heart functions normally, the rest of your body can, too.
But if your heartbeat is irregular, it can lead to such problems as shortness of breath, chest discomfort, and weakness or fatigue.
Knowing your risk for an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, is essential to ensuring your heart stays healthy.
Dr. Hesham Fakhri and our team provide fast diagnosis and effective treatments for various arrhythmias at the Vein, Heart, and Vascular Institute Tampa, Sun City Center, and Wesley Chapel, Florida.
Dr. Fakhri is an esteemed cardiologist who determines the cause of the arrhythmia to provide you with a personalized treatment plan to get your heart back on track.
What is a regular heart rhythm?
Your heart is a crucial organ to your overall health. It usually contracts, or beats, at 60-100 beats per minute, varying during activity and sleep.
A heartbeat of 60-100 is a regular rate; a normal beat is called a normal sinus rhythm. Your heart beats rhythmically during this rhythm, pumping adequate amounts of oxygenated blood.
If your heart is beating at 60-100 beats per minute and you're in normal sinus rhythm, your heart is healthy, and you have a regular heart rhythm.
But problems arise when you have an irregular heartbeat. Different arrhythmias cause your heart to beat out of sync or too fast or slow, meaning your heart can't provide your body with the proper amount of nutrients and blood.
Types of arrhythmias
We identify types of arrhythmias based on where they originate in the heart. For example, a supraventricular arrhythmia occurs in the atria of the heart, which sit above the ventricles.
Ventricular arrhythmias, on the other hand, start in the heart's lower chambers, also known as the ventricles.
Junctional rhythms or bradyarrhythmias occur when there's an issue with one of the nodes in your heart. The SA node and the AV node are two areas where these issues can arise in the heart's conduction system.
The type of arrhythmia you experience determines the symptoms you have and the damage that can happen to your body. Some of the common forms of arrhythmias include:
- Atrial fibrillation
- Atrial flutter
- Sinus tachycardia
- Supraventricular tachycardia
- Ventricular fibrillation
- Ventricular tachycardia
Premature heartbeats can also happen, including premature atrial and ventricular contractions. They can occur sporadically or in an organized pattern throughout normal heartbeats.
Complications of arrhythmias
A regular heart rhythm is essential to your health. It ensures your heart delivers the necessary nutrients and oxygenated blood to the tissues, organs, and cells throughout your body.
Some serious complications of untreated heart rhythms include:
- Increased risk of blood clots
- Heart disease or heart failure
- Cardiac arrest or sudden death
Some arrhythmias are life-threatening and require immediate treatment to restore your heart to a regular rhythm.
When to see a doctor
Seek treatment at an emergency room if you're experiencing signs of a heart attack, such as chest pressure or pain, shortness of breath, or fainting.
Sometimes, an arrhythmia doesn't cause any symptoms, and we may only find it through routine testing. In other instances, arrhythmias cause specific signs and symptoms, such as:
- Heart palpitations
- Trouble catching your breath
- Chest tightness
If you experience any of these symptoms, seek help immediately. Pushing through an arrhythmia could lead to dangerous complications.
We identify an irregular rhythm through an electrocardiogram (EKG) and determine treatment from there. You may require specific lifestyle changes, medications, or procedures to get your heart back into a regular rate and rhythm.
Call one of our offices in Wesley Chapel, Sun City Center, or Tampa, Florida, if you're experiencing an irregular heartbeat. You can also request an appointment online today.