Heart rhythm problems (heart arrhythmias) occur when the electrical impulses that coordinate your heartbeats don’t work properly, causing your heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly. They may feel like a fluttering or racing heart and may be harmless. However, some heart arrhythmias may cause bothersome and sometimes even life-threatening signs and symptoms. Heart arrhythmia treatment can often control or eliminate fast, slow or irregular heartbeats. In addition, because troublesome heart arrhythmias are often made worse or are even caused by a weak or damaged heart, you may be able to reduce your arrhythmia risk by adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle.
There are several different types or categories of arrhythmias as listed below:
- Tachycardia: A fast heart rhythm with a rate of more than 100 beats per minute.
- Bradycardia: A slow heart rhythm with a rate below 60 beats per minute.
- Supraventricular arrhythmias: Arrhythmias that begin in the atria (the heart’s upper chambers). “Supra” means above; “ventricular” refers to the lower chambers of the heart, or ventricles.
- Ventricular arrhythmias: Arrhythmias that begin in the ventricles (the heart’s lower chambers).
- Bradyarrhythmias: Slow heart rhythms that may be caused by disease in the heart’s conduction system, such as the sinoatrial (SA) node, atrioventricular (AV) node or HIS-Purkinje network.
Why Do I Have a Cardiac Arrhythmia?
Arrhythmias can be caused by many different factors which include the following:
- Coronary artery disease
- High blood pressure
- Changes in the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy)
- Valve disorders
- Electrolyte imbalances in the blood, such as sodium or potassium
- Injury from a heart attack
- The healing process after heart surgery
- Other medical conditions