Heart arrhythmias are pretty common. Some arrhythmia cases are harmless, whereas others can be life-threatening and need medical attention. You can consult a health care provider to learn if your heart skipping a beat is normal or a symptom of something serious. In this blog, we will mention how serious an irregular heartbeat is. Carry on reading to learn when to be worried about an irregular heartbeat.
What is Heart Arrhythmia?
When one’s heart beats too fast, too slow, or in an irregular rhythm, it is known as a heart arrhythmia. Our heart has a sinoatrial node that produces an electric impulse, kickstarting each heartbeat. Also known as the heart’s natural pacemaker, disturbance or problems in this node can lead to arrhythmia. Consequently, it affects how your heart pumps blood to your body. You might experience the following symptoms if you have this condition:
- Fluttering or pounding sensation in the chest
- Shortness of breath
Arrhythmia symptoms do not occur in every affected individual. In such cases, testing for other medical conditions shows this condition.
When Is Arrhythmia Harmless?
Everyone has had the feeling that the heart skips a beat. If this happens now and then, you do not need to worry about them. Usually, harmless arrhythmia lasts a few seconds at most. Factors such as drinking too much coffee, stress, anxiety, etc., can cause this type of arrhythmia. However, do visit your healthcare provider if you already suffer from a heart condition. In addition, an arrhythmia that lasts longer than a few seconds also needs to be inspected. Simply put, visit your doctor whenever you have heart palpitations that concern you.
When You Should Be Worried About Irregular Heartbeat
Not all instances of irregular heartbeat are harmless. There is some arrhythmia that should be monitored, while others need to be monitored. Experiencing irregular heartbeat frequently can damage your heart; hence, you will require expert consultation.
The following kinds of arrhythmia call for medical attention:
1. Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs)
When the bottom of your heart beats early, you might have PVCs. Although they are not a cause for alarm, you should visit a doctor if they are frequent.
Tachycardia occurs when your heart beats too fast. Age and overall health play a role in a person’s heart rate. Therefore, a heart rate over 100 beats per minute is technically known as a case of tachycardia. Still, when the heart beats faster than the normal rate, it usually indicates an arrhythmia. If you have sinus tachycardia, then it is normal behavior and not an arrhythmia.
Supraventricular tachycardia typically causes disruptive and uncomfortable symptoms. However, this type of arrhythmia is mostly harmless.
Arrhythmia does not always cause your heart to beat too fast; sometimes, your heartbeat has a slow rhythm. Although, in some cases, resting heart rates are a sign of a healthy heart. If you have symptoms of bradycardia along with an irregular heartbeat, you should visit a doctor.
4. Atrial Fibrillation or AFib
AFib can cause irregular heartbeats that you should be worried about since they can affect how the heart pumps blood. Pre-existing heart conditions and aging can often result in this condition. AFib requires immediate medical attention. Otherwise, it increases the risk of stroke and becomes challenging to treat.
5. Ventricular Tachycardia, or VT
Fast arrhythmia from the lower chamber of the heart could mean VT. Even though it often occurs briefly and resolves on its own, it can lead to cardiac arrest if it persists. Furthermore, the risk factors, including heart failure, heart attack, and cardiomyopathies, increase the probability of VT.
6. Ventricular Fibrillation, or VFib
VFib is another serious type of arrhythmia and a case when you should definitely be worried about an irregular heartbeat. This can lead to cardiac arrest and sudden death — so you should seek immediate medical attention.
An irregular heartbeat is not always a cause for concern, but there are times you should be worried about it. Our experts at Atrial Fibrillation Centers of America can determine why your heart has an abnormal rhythm. Thus, call us at (832) 478-5067 to schedule an appointment. You can also visit us at 13325 Hargrave Rd. Suite 280, Houston, TX 77070.