Arrhythmias can be caused by a variety of symptoms. They may indicate a benign condition or needing immediate attention. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to consult your doctor immediately.
The following are the most common symptoms of arrhythmias:
- Feeling like your heart is racing a bit
- A heartbeat that is too fast, or “racing”,
- A heartbeat too slow
- An irregular heartbeat
- pauses between heartbeats
You may also experience more serious symptoms like:
- chest pain
- Breathing difficulty
- Near-fainting or fainting
- severe heart palpitations
- It is important to sweat
When should you call your doctor?
Arrhythmias can be ignored too often. If you experience symptoms of arrhythmias, it is important to consult your doctor immediately. Certain symptoms may indicate that you need immediate medical attention. Some symptoms could also be due to other conditions that need urgent treatment.
- Arrhythmias that need emergency care
These arrhythmias can be life-threatening. These arrhythmias should be treated immediately. They can cause damage to your brain and heart, or even death if left untreated.
- Supraventricular arrhythmias
Supraventricular arrhythmias cause a fast heart rate. These patients require emergency medical attention immediately.
Atrial fibrillation is the most common supraventricular arrhythmia. This is when the atria produce fast and irregular contractions. An arrhythmia can lead to a stroke, or even heart failure. The treatment options include medication, non-surgical procedures, and surgery.
Atrial flutter is a type of arrhythmia that looks very similar to atrial fibrillation. It has a rhythmic contraction cycle, which is its main difference. This kind of arrhythmia can be very rare.
Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome – This is a life-threating type of arrhythmia that causes the ventricles to contract prematurely. This happens when your heartbeat is disrupted by an additional electrical pathway.
- Ventricular arrhythmias
These arrhythmias usually start in the ventricles. They require immediate medical attention.
Ventricular Tachycardia – This arrhythmia causes a rapid heartbeat and lasts only a few seconds. A prolonged duration of more than a few seconds can be dangerous and should be treated immediately by emergency medical personnel.
Ventricular fibrillation, also known as V-fib, is a serious condition that can cause sudden cardiac arrest and even death. This happens when the electrical signals within the heart become chaotic. The ventricles become more rigid than normal and start to pump abnormally. This will cause sudden cardiac arrest if blood is not pumped through the body. A defibrillator can correct the impulses. An implantable defibrillator might be necessary in some cases for long-term care.
This arrhythmia manifests as a slow heartbeat. A slow heartbeat is a sign that there is a problem with blood flow. Insufficient blood flow can lead to unconsciousness. For people who are healthy, a slow heart beat may not pose a problem. It can lead to serious conditions such as a heart attack or chemical imbalance.