Arrhythmia is defined as an irregular heartbeat. Depending on a person’s age and level of fitness, the heart beats (on average) between 60 and 100 times every minute. Heart rates can also be irregular. Almost everyone experiences a palpitation occasionally. This may be the result of a very brief period of irregular heartbeat. Arrhythmias and abnormal heart rates don’t necessarily occur together. Arrhythmias can occur with a normal heart rate.
In a healthy person, heart arrhythmia can be caused by a number of reasons such as physical exertion, sudden emotional upsets, anxiety , stress or a sudden rush of adrenaline as a result of fear or excitement. This type of heart arrhythmia typically feels like a skipped beat, followed by a heavy thud.
The occasional presence of an irregular heart beat generally does not affect the health and well being of an individual. However, consistent irregularities of the heartbeat should be investigated by a doctor. If along with palpitations an individual also complains of other symptoms such as pain in chest, dizziness, sudden pain in the left side of the chest, heart region and left shoulder, difficulty in breathing and fainting, then he should seek urgent medical assistance.
Types of Arrhythmias
Some of the common types of arrhythmias are listed below:
An Arrhythmia that occurs in case of a slow heart rate that is a heart rate less than 60 beats per minute is known as bradyarrhythmia.
An Arrhythmia that occurs when the heart rate is fast, that is when the heart beats at a rate of more than 100 beats per minute is known as tachyarrhythmia.
Premature Atrial Contractions
Premature atrial contractions are extra heart beats that originate in the atria chambers of the heart. Atria are the upper chambers of the heart. These are usually harmless and do not need any treatment.
Premature Ventricular Contractions
Premature ventricular contractions are the most common forms of arrhythmias. This is the irregular heart beat or a missed heart beat that every one of us experiences at some point of time. It can occur in a healthy heart as well as in individuals suffering from cardiac problems. In some people the premature ventricular contractions are associated with excessive consumption of caffeine, physical exertion and emotional stress or sudden emotional disturbances. However, people who frequently experience premature ventricular contractions or in case of pope who suffer from other associated symptoms such as fainting and dizziness or cardiac problems should consult a cardiac specialist.
This is a very common irregular heart rhythm that causes the upper chambers of the heart to contract abnormally.
In case of a heart block the electrical impulse which travels from the sinus node to the ventricles of the heart is blocked completely or it might be delayed, resulting in an irregular heartbeat. If serious, heart block is treated with a pacemaker.
Some other forms of arrhythmias are ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, accessory pathway tachycardia, AV nodal re-entrant tachycardia and long QT syndrome.