Lately, you’ve been feeling short of breath and a little dizzy. You try to ignore the symptoms but they don’t go away. Worried something may be really wrong, you go to the doctor who refers you to a cardiologist. Your doctor runs a few tests on you. After reviewing results from an echocardiogram and holter monitor, the doc tells you what’s going on: you have arrhythmia. But what does that mean? What is arrhythmia? Is it serious, and how is it treated?
What is arrhythmia?
Arrhythmia is basically an abnormal heartbeat—it means there is a problem with the rate or rhythm of your heart. The most common form of arrhythmia is a fast heartbeat, called tachycardia. It’s also possible to have bradycardia, which is a slow heartbeat. Some people have hearts that skip beats. Cases range from mild to serious, so it’s always best to follow your doctor’s guidance on a treatment plan. Common triggers like stress and smoking should be avoided.
What are the symptoms of arrhythmia?
Symptoms can include shortness of breath, dizziness, lightheaded feeling, sweating, or chest pain. If you are having any of these symptom of a rrhythmia on a consistent basis, you should see a doctor right away or head to an emergency room.
How are more severe cases of arrhythmia treated?
Most arrhythmias are harmless, so you may not require any treatment. But if your doctors determine your arrhythmia is serious enough to cause complications, they will put a treatment plan together for you. This may include Afib medications to prevent blood clots, catheter ablation, or inserting a device to regulate your heart.