Understanding Heart Arrhythmia
Being a major powerhouse for the human body, it comes as no surprise that the heart is also a victim of wear and tear. This is the reason why, in today’s world of a million different stressors, the heart can succumb to a number of different medical conditions as well as diseases. One of what is considered to be the most life threatening conditions of the heart is known as arrhythmia.
From the name itself, one can surmise that arrhythmia is a heart condition that has something to do with the heart’s rhythm or beating pattern. Now, before you can understand what arrhythmia is about, you first have to realize that the heart is the only organ in the body that has a cluster of self-starting cells. It is these cells that allow the heart to beat as well as to follow a certain pattern. What these cells do is sent electric impulses in order to cause the heart to pump blood. In an arrhythmia, the beating pattern is not regular with some patients having slower beats while others have weak ones.
There are a number of things that could lead to arrhythmia. Some of these would include a scar in the heart tissue caused by a prior heart attack, drinking too much alcohol, regular consumption of too much caffeine, diabetes, stress, and even certain medications. Electric shock, pollution, and an overactive thyroid gland can also lead to arrhythmia.
A person suffering from arrhythmia typically experiences such symptoms as fluttering chest, a racing or a slow heartbeat, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and fainting. Those who have had previous heart surgery as well as an existing heart condition are at a higher risk for arrhythmia. The same is also true for those who have hypertension, thyroid problems, sleep apnea, and electrolyte imbalance.
Because much rely on the heart’s ability to pump oxygen-rich blood to the different organs, one simple skip can lead to a number of problems. Two of the most life-threatening effect of arrhythmia is stroke, and heart failure. A patient who suffers from stroke usually has a clot along the brain surface. This happens when blood pools in a certain area and starts to harden. If the plaque is not remove on time, it would lead to a stroke. While it can be life-threatening, early detection and proper medical attention can help the patient to recover from it.
Heart failure, on the other hand, can come in two forms – heart attack, and cardiac arrest. In a heart attack a clot forms along the blood vessels which causes the blood flow to slow down. This, in turn, can lead to oxygen deprivation which, in turn, could lead to the organ’s death. Although the end-result is similar to a cardiac arrest, the two are not the same. In a cardiac arrest, the heart suddenly stops. This can be due to a blunt force trauma to the chest or an irregularity in the beating pattern that causes the heart to starve of oxygen. Cardiac arrest typically does not show any sign or symptom which makes it more dangerous between the two. Your best hope to make it through a cardiac arrest is to have an AED unit on hand that can assist anyone in reviving you.