If you have been sensing erratic behavior of your heart and wondering whether or not it’s normal to have these flutters, put your mind to rest first. Your heart beating irregularly means you might be dealing with an arrhythmia, a condition that affects the speed and pattern of your heartbeats. So, if the next question on your mind is, “When should I be worried about my irregular heartbeat?” Find your answer in the blog below.
What Does It Mean To Have an Irregular Heartbeat?
An irregular heartbeat is known as an arrhythmia. It presents itself with characteristics like changes in the speed of its heartbeats and/or its rhythm (the pattern). Distinguishing between arrhythmia and heart palpitations is important as they are not the same.
Heart palpitations are short-term, rapid heartbeats that last for seconds or minutes. On the other hand, arrhythmia is an irregular heart rhythm that persists for days or even years.
When Should You Be Worried? Call 911 If
It is a cause of concern if your heartbeat is:
- Frequently irregular without an apparent reason.
- If your heart rate is beating fast while at rest (more than 100 beats per minute).
- In case of a slow heartbeat (fewer than 60 beats per minute).
- Heart palpitations, where the heart skips a beat or beats too hard or fast.
- Dull or stabbing chest pain.
- Shortness of breath.
- Weakness, lightheadedness, or dizziness.
- Loss of consciousness, blackouts, or fainting.
Are There Multiple Types Of Irregular Heartbeat?
Yes, there are two kinds of this condition:
- Tachycardia (Fast Heartbeat)
Tachycardia involves a rapid heartbeat. However, it is different from the increased heart rate you experience while performing exercise or when you are in stressful situations. But if your heart rate is higher than usual while at rest, you might be dealing with tachycardia.
- Bradycardia (Slow Heartbeat)
The second type is bradycardia, which is characterized by a heart rhythm that is slower than normal. The value falls lower than 60 beats per minute in adults. If you suspect that your heartbeat is going down more than normal, symptoms like tiredness, lightheadedness, intolerance to exercise, anginal chest pain, premature heartbeats, or premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) might come along.
- Premature Heartbeats
Premature heartbeats occur when the Purkinje fibers in your inner ventricular walls start heartbeats instead of the sinoatrial (SA) node. To keep it simple – these earlier-than-normal electrical signals make your heart beat too soon, resulting in a longer-than-normal pause between two beats.
PVCs may happen spontaneously. While they lack known causes, some risk factors for developing this condition include old age, hypertension, hypomagnesemia (magnesium deficiency), hypokalemia (potassium deficiency), and undiagnosed stroke or heart disease.
Irregular heartbeats, or arrhythmias, take various forms; therefore, it is essential to be aware of the potential symptoms and when to call for help in such a situation. Do not take your heart’s health lightly.
Early detection and treatment can make a significant difference in your overall well-being. If you want an expert opinion on your cardio health, talk to our expert, Dr. M. Usman Khan, an award winner of fellowship status by the American College of Cardiology (ACP), of Epic Heart and Vascular Center. Call us at Houston: (832) 432-1951. We are here to assist you in all possible ways!