Irregular Heartbeat? Find out what could be the cause

An irregular heartbeat is when your heart beats too fast, too slow or in an irregular pattern. Premature or extra beats are the most common type of arrhythmia. This usually feels like a fluttering in the chest or a feeling of a skipped heartbeat. The human heart has an electrical system that instructs it when to beat and push blood around the body. If there is trouble with this system the person might experience heart rhythm disorders. The most common type of heart arrhythmia is Atrial fibrillation, which arises when pumping of the upper chambers of the heart is irregular, and blood flow from the atria (upper chambers) to the lower chambers of the heart is not proper.

Fast heart patterns are classified under Tachycardia and include supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), inappropriate sinus tachycardia, atrial flutter, atrial fibrillation (AF), ventricular tachycardia (VT) and ventricular fibrillation (VF). Whereas, slow heart patterns such as AV heart block, bundle branch block and tachybrady syndrome come under Bradycardia.

Heart rhythm disorders can cause many symptoms from barely perceptible to cardiovascular collapse and even death. Random moments of arrhythmias are usually harmless but when these last for a long time serious symptoms might develop, such as:

  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • fainting
  • rapid heartbeat or pounding
  • anxiety
  • shortness of breath
  • sweating
  • chest pain
  • collapse and cardiac arrest (in extreme cases)

Heart rhythm disorders may occur due to:

  • Smoking- Cigarette smoking can be a cause of arrhythmias. It can also cause coronary artery disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that may also likely lead to irregular heartbeat.
  • Alcohol consumption- This is another cause of arrhythmias which can also increase the risk of sudden cardiac death.
  • Drug use- Almost all illicit drugs may cause an irregular heartbeat.
  • Stress- Psychological stress can make the heart work harder, raising the blood pressure, leading to increased cortisol levels which, in turn, can trigger the sympathetic nervous system and cause an irregular heartbeat.
  • Age — Older people, above the age of 60, may be afflicted with serious arrhythmia because they are more prone to heart diseases and other health problems which may cause an irregular heartbeat.

Certain conditions may damage the heart by harming the heart’s electrical system, leading to heart rhythm disorders. Some such conditions are:

  • heart failure & heart attack
  • congenital heart defects
  • high blood pressure
  • infections that damage the heart muscle or the sac around the heart
  • diabetes
  • acute sleep disorders
  • An overactive or underactive thyroid gland

Narayana Health is one of the best hospitals in India for heart rhythm disorders with some of the most skilled doctors in the country. With 23 hospitals, 7 heart centres and a network of primary health centres across India and a hospital in the Cayman Islands, Narayana health has gathered international acclaim for providing high-quality healthcare. For Arrhythmia treatment, they have a team of some of the most dedicated and experienced physicians. This super-speciality hospital in India provides advanced care in almost 30 specialities including cardiology & cardiac surgery, cancer care, neurology & neurosurgery, orthopaedics, nephrology & urology and gastroenterology.