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Problems and Conditions

Arrhythmia

Our heartbeat is controlled by electrical pulses that tell the chambers of the heart to contract and relax, thus pumping blood through our bodies. When these electrical pulses are faulty, an arrhythmia occurs. An arrhythmia is any heartbeat with an irregular rate or rhythm, be it too fast, too slow, or sporadic. Many arrhythmia are harmless, but in certain cases an irregular heartbeat can inhibit proper blood flow and lead to heart problems. It is important to meet with your physician in order to monitor your heartbeat and control your arrhythmia.

Causes

What causes your heart's electrical signals to go haywire?

  • Congenital Heart Condition (defects that you're born with)
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol or Drug Abuse
  • Heart Attack, High Blood Pressure or Coronary Heart Disease
  • Thyroid Conditions
  • High Emotional Stress
  • Certain Medications

Symptoms

Many people with arrhythmia don't notice any signs or symptoms. The most commonly cited symptoms are heart palpitations (feeling your heart "skip a beat,") feeling irregular speeding up, slowing down, or pausing in your heartbeat, weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness, shortness of breath, sweating, or chest pains. Once you have reported these symptoms to your doctor, he or she will do a series of tests to determine the source and severity of your arrhythmia.

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