Heart arrhythmia is a normal and common irregular heartbeat that most people will experience at least once in their lifetime and not even know it.
Arrhythmia disrupts the normal pattern can cause your heart to beat too fast, too slow, or to beat in an irregular pattern.
Electrical impulses that signal your heart to beat cause arrhythmias. Those electrical impulses cause contractions in the four chambers of your heart, which pump blood through your body. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, something goes wrong and the heart goes a little haywire before finding its usual rhythm.
In the vast majority of cases, the arrhythmia’s effects are momentary and come without few or any symptoms. However, there are cases when the symptoms can be serious and require immediate medical attention.
However, some kinds of heart arrhythmias are normal and harmless. Often, they feel like a “skipped beat.” Most times they come and go unnoticed.
There are four main types of arrhythmia:
- Ventricular Arrhythmias: These arrhythmias start in the ventricles, the lower chambers of the heart that pump blood around the body. Because the ventricles play such an important part in your circulation, arrhythmias occurring there can be extremely dangerous.
- Premature (Extra) Beats: The majority of these are harmless and symptom free. Their technical name is premature atrial contractions, or PACs.These are the most common type and feel like skipped beats or a “fluttering” in the chest. These beats occur in the atria, the smallest chambers of the heart.
- Supraventricular Arrhythmias: These fast heart rates start in the atria or AV (atrioventricular) node, a barrier of cells separating the atria and ventricles in the heart.
- Bradyarrythmias: This type of arrhythmia causes the heart rate to dip below normal (60 beats per minute for an average adult). This causes blood circulation to slow to the brain, thus possibly causing unconsciousness. They are often connected to other types of heart problems, like heart attack or a reaction to medication.
Some arrhythmia symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Slowed heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Near fainting
- Racing heartbeat
- Fluttering feeling in your chest
- Feeling of long pauses between heartbeats
These kinds of symptoms may require immediate medical attention as they could be signs of larger problems.