An arrhythmia is an abnormal heartbeat that can be either too fast (known as tachycardia), or too slow (bradycardia). It can also be irregular rhythm (i.e., Atrial Fibrillation, or “Afib”).
Like every muscle in your body, your heart works on electric impulses that make it contract and relax again. Each heartbeat is the result of an electrical signal that begins at the top of the heart and spreads to the bottom, guiding the flow of blood through the heart and into the arteries throughout the body, on average between 60 and 100 times per minute. An arrhythmia occurs when those electrical signals don’t fire as they are supposed to.
During an arrhythmia, the heart may not be able to pump enough blood to the body. Lack of blood flow can damage the brain, heart, and other organs, and can cause a stroke.
Arrhythmia Risk Factors
There are multiple factors that can cause and contribute to Arrhythmia, including:
Heavy alcohol use
Prescription, over the counter, and illegal drugs
Great emotional stress
Congenital defects (present from birth)
While there are many causes, there are effective tools to diagnose arrhytmia and atrial fibrillation, providing a better understanding to its triggers and the basis for a course of action.
Echocardiogram (EKG) is a painless tool to detect and record the strength and timing of your heart’s electrical impulses.
Holter Monitoring uses a portable EKG to record your heart’s electrical signals for 24 or 48 hours while you go about your regular activities