Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
            The Aga Khan University Hospital Pakistan

What You Need to Know About Arrhythmia – World Heart Rhythm Week

<p>An arrhythmia is an abnormal or irregular heartbeat; it means your heartbeat is either too fast or too slow. This can be detected by a simple pulse check; 60 – 100 beats per minute is considered normal, while lower than 60 beats per minute is considered too slow, and more than 100 beats per minute is considered too fast.</p><p>A normal heart rhythm means your heart is able to supply your body with the right amount of oxygen and nutrients it needs. An irregular heartbeat interrupts the heart&#39;s ability to pump blood effectively throughout the body, which could potentially damage your organs. </p><p>Arrhythmias are harmless in most cases, but sometimes can be critical and life-threatening as well, leading to complications like cardiac arrest or stroke. Either way, these symptoms need to be examined by a doctor. </p><p><strong>Early Warning Signs of Arrhythmia</strong></p><p>Some signs and symptoms of arrhythmia include: </p><ul><li>Dizziness or lightheadedness </li><li>Fainting episodes</li><li>Sweating</li><li>Heart palpitations</li><li>Slow or fast heartbeat</li><li>Chest pain</li><li>Fatigue</li><li>Shortness of breath </li></ul><p>Arrhythmias can also occur in children and infants. Parents should stay alert for symptoms, particularly if an infant is being unusually irritable and having difficulty feeding. However, it is also possible for an arrhythmia to manifest silently with no obvious symptoms. </p><p><strong>Risk Factors and Prevention</strong></p><p>Although arrhythmias can be caused by certain medical conditions such as coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, heart defects, valve disorders, after recovering from heart surgery, etc., there are also certain lifestyle factors which can increase the risk of arrhythmia: </p><ul><li>Smoking or using tobacco</li><li>Having high blood sugar</li><li>Consuming a high amount of caffeine </li><li>BMI (body mass index) higher than 30</li></ul><p>In order to prevent or manage arrhythmias, there are some lifestyle changes you should make that include maintaining a healthy weight, managing your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, avoiding tobacco, and cutting back on caffeinated products (tea, coffee, colas, etc). </p><p><strong>Diagnosis and Treatment </strong></p><p>An irregular heartbeat is first detected by taking the pulse and listening to the heartbeat. If needed, your doctor may ask for further tests such as electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, stress test, tilt table test, etc.
</p><p>Alongside lifestyle changes, there are various treatment methods to help manage heart arrhythmias, depending on the type and severity of your arrhythmia and as per your healthcare provider. Some of these treatments include:</p><ul><li>Medications, such as antiarrhythmic drugs and medications to control the heart rate.</li><li>Therapies, such as cardioversion and catheter ablation, both ways to send electrical energy to the heart to correct its rhythm. </li><li>Medical devices, such as a pacemaker and an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), both of which are implanted under the skin to regulate your heartbeat.</li><li>Surgery, in case the condition is serious and requires this intervention. </li></ul><p><strong>Learn more:</strong></p><p><a href="/pakistan/patients-families/health-packages/Documents/Heart%20Risk%20Assessment.pdf">Heart Risk Assessment Package</a></p><p><a href="/pakistan/patients-families/Documents/Cardiopulmonary%20Diagnostic%20Services.pdf">Cardiopulmonary Diagnostic Services</a>
© The Aga Khan University Hospital, Pakistan