Home Heart healthArrhythmia What are arrhythmias? Are they dangerous?

What are arrhythmias? Are they dangerous?

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Arrhythmias are any alteration in the heart rhythm or the heartbeat, suggesting that the heart is beating faster than usual, slower, or that the heartbeat has an irregular rhythm pattern. Different arrhythmias can have other symptoms, but the most common is atrial fibrillation, which combines a faster heartbeat and an irregular heartbeat.

Many factors can affect a person’s health and trigger heart arrhythmia, heart attacks, smoking, stress, and some congenital disabilities are the most common. When a person has arrhythmia, they may experience dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, or excessive sweating. But are arrhythmias dangerous? In this FastlyHealarticle you can find the answer.

Are arrhythmias dangerous?

Answering this question is very difficult because the level of complexity suggested by arrhythmias depends on the type of arrhythmia the person suffers from. As there are several ways in which the heart rhythm can be affected, and each is associated with different causes and physical conditions, the severity of arrhythmias depends exclusively on their origin. Therefore, if they ask us if arrhythmias are dangerous, we can say yes, no, and not much. What should be clarified is that the most challenging thing about arrhythmias is that they are a silent disorder that must be diagnosed in time to avoid significant complications.

The good news is that at FastlyHealwe want to help you understand this heart condition to determine its severity in each case. Therefore, we will begin by providing general information about arrhythmias and then explaining the different types and prognoses. Let’s get started!

What are arrhythmias?

Arrhythmias are a disorder that affects the heart’s rhythm, causing beats that are very slow (bradycardia) or very fast (tachycardia). They can also trigger an irregular pattern in your heartbeat. Arrhythmias can be ventricular or supraventricular.

  • Ventricular arrhythmias. They occur in the lower cavity of the heart, that is, in the ventricles.
  • Supraventricular arrhythmias. Unlike the previous ones, these occur in the upper part of the muscle, above the ventricles, and originate mainly in the atria.

Likewise, the alteration in a heartbeat can determine if the arrhythmia is accompanied by:

  • Bradycardia . Slower heartbeat due to a heart rate of fewer than 60 beats per minute. Bradycardia typically affects older people and can be caused by a nervous system malfunction that does not inform the heart to pump more blood. Medications for hypertension can also cause bradycardia.
  • Tachycardia . Faster heartbeat because the heart rate exceeds 100 beats per minute. Tachycardia can also be ventricular or supraventricular, depending on whether it originates from the ventricles of the heart’s atria. If you want to know more about tachycardia, consult this article in which we explain its causes, symptoms, and treatment.

Ventricular arrhythmias

Ventricular tachycardia

It occurs when a failure in a heart node cannot control the heart rate in the ventricles, and the natural pacemaker function is exerted by other parts of the muscle, causing the heart not to beat usually. This arrhythmia is accompanied by dizziness and shortness of breath and can lead to fainting. With medicinal treatment, it is possible to recover the normal rhythm of the heartbeat.

Premature ventricular contraction

It is a less dangerous type of arrhythmia because the ventricles contract prematurely and do not maintain their reasonable heart rate, which speeds up the heart rate. These arrhythmias are not usually dangerous; even in most cases do not need any treatment; however, if the person suffering from this disorder also has ventricular tachycardia or heart disease, this type of arrhythmia can become a severe problem. Premature ventricular contraction can appear suddenly and can be a temporary consequence of caffeine intake, chocolate consumption, or cough syrup.

Ventricular fibrillation

This is the most severe arrhythmia rhythm, which makes one respond that arrhythmias are dangerous. It is characterized by causing irregular and uncontrolled heartbeats and occurs because in the heart, instead of a single untimely pulsation in the ventricles, several impulses arise in different parts that stimulate the heart to beat at the same time. Therefore, we can say that it is various parts of the muscle telling it to win, which makes the heart pump less blood to the brain and the body, causing a syncope.

Ventricular fibrillation can speed up the work of the heart so much that the heart rate can reach more than 300 beats per minute. Suppose the person passes out in this episode. In that case, it is essential to go to the emergency room immediately because cardiopulmonary resuscitation and other necessary care to maintain heart health may be required. Annually 220 thousand people die due to this disorder, more common in people with cardiovascular diseases.

In this article, we explain the possible causes of why your heartbeat feels very strong.

Supraventricular arrhythmias

These types of arrhythmia are less severe than ventricular ones and, in many cases, do not need treatment. These disorders are the most common, and, like a premature ventricular contraction, they can also be triggered by caffeine, tobacco, theine, alcoholic beverages, and some medications such as cough syrup. Heart disease and hyperthyroidism can also cause these types of arrhythmias. Supraventricular arrhythmias are:

supraventricular tachycardia

It occurs due to an elevated heart rate between 150 and 250 beats per minute. This disorder originates in the atria of the heart, which receive abnormal electrical signals that cause the atria to beat the heart rate. Babies, women, and people who are anxious, smokers, or very tired are at higher risk of suffering from supraventricular tachycardia.

Atrial fibrillation

It is the most common arrhythmia. It occurs when individual muscle fibers of the heart undergo convulsive movements that cause a rapid and irregular heart rhythm. It is believed that more than 2 million people worldwide suffer from this condition, which is one of the leading causes of heart attacks and strokes in older people.

Atrial fibrillation can make it easier for blood to collect in the heart’s upper chambers, and this accumulation can lead to the formation of a clot that may or may not travel to the brain and clog one of the arteries leading to a stroke. This type of arrhythmia is controlled by using antiplatelet drugs that prevent blood clots and help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome

It is a set of abnormalities due to additional conduction pathways between the ventricles and the atria, which causes the ventricles to receive electrical signals prematurely that are later returned to the atria. This is the cause of a very high heart rate, accompanied by dizziness.

Atrial flutter and CAP

It is a disorder that occurs when the atria beat so fast that they make the ventricles beat. Also, when the atria contract prematurely and cause an irregular heartbeat, it is called premature atrial contractions (CAP).

Conclusion: are arrhythmias dangerous?

Once the types of arrhythmias and their complications have been explained, we can assure that the arrhythmia can be more dangerous if it occurs in the ventricles, lower chambers of the heart, if it is not diagnosed in time and if the heart rate is so fast as to exceed 200 beats per minute.

The arrhythmias that pose a negligible health risk occur in the atria of the heart, which are the most common as well. In general, these arrhythmias can be treated with the intake of medications and do not usually alter the heart rate as much as occurs in ventricular fibrillation.

Any condition that alters the functioning and rhythm of the heart is a condition that must be attended to, monitored, and controlled by a specialist, so timely diagnosis and the intake of medications are crucial to preventing any arrhythmia from becoming a complication primary such as strokes, heart attacks, and strokes.

Also, certain risk factors can make a person with arrhythmia more prone to complications, such as suffering from diabetes, heart failure, arteriosclerosis, hypothyroidism, obesity, hypertension, and smoking. Controlling or correcting any factor that may worsen the arrhythmia is necessary so that they remain a not-so-dangerous condition.

The treatment of arrhythmias will depend on the type of arrhythmia of the person and the intensity with which they perceive their symptoms. In general, these conditions suggest the daily taking of medications such as antiplatelets or antiarrhythmic drugs to prevent the heart rate from being too slow or too fast or prevent episodes of arrhythmia followed.

  • Cardiac ablation is used to destroy parts of the heart that are causing abnormal beating rhythms.
  • The pacemaker helps to perform the task of the natural pacemaker, the SA node. This device allows identifying when the heart rhythm is irregular, very slow, or very fast and sends a signal to the muscle so that it begins to beat usually.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Are arrhythmias dangerous? We recommend that you enter our category of Blood, heart and circulation .

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