According to physicians, the irregular heartbeat has become a common problem across the globe and in the US alone about 2.7 million to 6.1 million suffer from some form of irregular heartbeat. Based on these facts the answer to is irregular heartbeat serious can at times be so.
What Is An Irregular Heartbeat?
This condition is called Arrhythmia in clinical terms and is a kind of heart disorder that happens when the heart beats too slowly or too fastly or has an uneven rhythm. When the heart beats more than 60 to 100 times per minute it’s called tachycardia and when it is less than the said times it is known as bradycardia.
Irregular Heartbeat Symptoms
Even though this condition generally doesn’t show any symptoms, at times symptoms such as chest pains, anxiety trembling chest, giddiness, skipping beats, breathing shortness, fatigue, syncope (fainting), or near fainting and heavy sweating can be taken as indications for an Arrhythmia. These symptoms are checked at the time of diagnosis.
Irregular Heartbeat Causes
There are many causes for it which include congenital diseases to smoking. Other causes include;
- Coronary artery disease.
- Electrolyte imbalances in the blood (like potassium or sodium).
- Changes in the heart muscle.
- Injury due to a heart attack.
- Healing period following heart surgery.
- They can also happen in “healthy, normal” hearts.
- Alcohol consumption.
[Also Read: Is dizziness a symptom of low potassium]
Is Irregular Heartbeat Serious?
Not every irregular heartbeat is serious. At times intense workouts may lead to the increased heartbeat which isn’t serious and in the same way, there’s slow heartbeat when a person is in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep such conditions are usually not serious.
In general most of the abnormal heartbeats are harmless. But be cautious if they look highly uneven or are the result of a damaged or weak heart. Also, be careful and seek medical advice if you notice any Irregular heartbeat in children. In addition to children, pregnancy is also a complication that can lead to this condition. Although heart palpitations during pregnancy are normal any extremity of it should be considered an emergency.
Complications Of An Irregular Heartbeat
As said above few people may not go through active symptoms but treatment is very needed for averting complications which could include heart stroke and failure.
Irregular Heartbeat At Night
Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeats at night happen when you feel a strong pulse in the chest, head, and neck during sleep. While this condition could be worrying, remember they are generally normal and may not signal anything serious.
When you sleep on your side you could be more vulnerable to heart palpitations due to the way the body is positioned beside the pressure built up inside.
The common type of palpitation that’s not related to the heart occurs when you bend resulting in increased abdominal pressure. Irregular heartbeat shortness of breath could also lead to this which generally may not be noticed during mornings and can be noticed at night due to a calm atmosphere.
When To Worry About Heart Palpitations?
Not all irregular heartbeats are dangerous. Actually, when heartbeat goes abnormal during physical activity or on a sunny day it is normal but when there’s a sudden dip or rise in the heartbeat that lasts long and occurs more than often then it is a caution sign for some serious issue with health especially with your respiratory system.
As a thumb rule if the irregularity is more than a couple of seconds then you’re at risk.
Irregular Heartbeat Treatments
Different conditions need different treatments. The following are the treatments for an irregular heartbeat;
Treatments For Bradycardia
If this condition happens due to already present ailment first the doctor treats it or if there’s no underlying problem then pacemaker implantation may be suggested.
Treatments For Tachycardia
- Vagal maneuvers, a kind of exercise.
- Medications may not cure but reduce the episodes.
- Cardioversion, an electric shock or medication.
- Ablation therapy, insertion of 1 or more catheters in the inner heart.
- Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), is placed close to the left collarbone.
- Maze procedure, the surgeon carries on multiple surgical incisions in the heart.
- Ventricular aneurysm surgery and;
- Coronary bypass surgery
Tips To Prevent Irregular Heartbeat
A healthy lifestyle is mandatory to prevent it.
- Eat heart-friendly foods
- Regular exercise
- Do not smoke
- Remain obesity free
- Keep cholesterol and blood pressure under control
- Moderate drinking
- Follow these and you can keep your heartbeat normal and you needn’t ask is irregular heartbeat serious when you meet your healthcare provider.
Sudheendra is a passionate blogger for 8 years and holds a Degree in Journalism & Mass Communications. His writings particularly focus on health, medicine, diet & lifestyle. For him, everything that interlinks and relates to health & medical world entices him. His write-ups aim at educating people not by just giving facts but by infusing human touch.