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Types, Causes, and Treatments of Heart Arrhythmias

A fluttering feeling in your chest may be a sign that you have a heart arrhythmia. While an arrhythmia can seem scary, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have a serious problem. These fluctuations in heart rhythm happen to perfectly healthy people from time to time. However, it's not something that should be ignored, especially if you're having them on a regular basis. Here is more information on arrhythmias so that you can be better informed when you talk to your doctor.

Types of Arrhythmias

There are numerous types of arrhythmias that are broken down further into types of tachycardias, fibrillations, flutters, dysfunctions, and contractions. All of these are categorized based on the speed of your heart rhythm, which part of the heart is affected, and neurological issues. Your treatment will be based on what type of arrhythmia you have and its potential cause.

Causes of Arrhythmia

Just like there are different types of arrhythmias, there are also different causes. Usually, arrhythmias are a sign that something is physically or neurologically wrong with the heart. However, some arrhythmias may be related to lifestyle or other health issues. Consuming too much caffeine or stimulants can cause an arrhythmia, for example. Electrolyte problems and stress are another possible causes that are not directly a result of heart damage or disease.

Diagnostic Tests for Arrhythmia

If you haven't had a physical in a while, then your doctor will do that before he or she focuses on the possible cause of your arrhythmia. This physical may involve taking blood and urine tests and possibly an x-ray. After other issues have been ruled out, then various tests, such as an electrocardiogram (EKG), will be used to look for physical or neurological problems with the heart.

Treating Your Arrhythmia

Treatment depends on the cause of your arrhythmia. You will likely need to cut down on stimulants and maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle. In some cases, you may need a pacemaker or internal defibrillator, especially if you are experiencing fainting spells. Shock treatment and catheters help certain types of arrhythmia. If your arrhythmia is caused by a blockage or other damage, then surgery may be prescribed.

Since your heart is one of the most important organs in your body, it's important that you have it checked out any time you feel that something is wrong with it. Not all arrhythmias are life-threatening or even need treatment, but a doctor should examine you to rule out more serious problems. If you are having problems with your heart, contact a cardiology service for an appointment.