Untreated arrhythmia in some individuals may increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, dementia, and heart failure.
It may lead to the inadequate blood supply to multiple organs because the heart may not function properly.
Patients may exhibit symptoms such as dizzy spells, shortness of breath, faintness, or serious heart problems. Recurrent episodes of arrhythmia may lead to multiorgan failure and even death.
Arrhythmia is a disturbed rhythm of heartbeat; in other words, it is an irregular heartbeat:
- When the heart beats faster than its natural rhythm of 60 to 100 beats per minute, it is called tachycardia.
- When the heart beats too slowly compared with the average rate, it is called bradycardia.
Other common symptoms of arrhythmia include:
What are common causes of and risk factors for arrhythmia?
Arrhythmia may occur due to various reasons ranging from genetic condition to medication side effects and an unhealthy lifestyle. The most common causes include:
- Extreme fright or stress
- Excessive exercise
- Hormonal changes
- Heart attack
- Scarring of the heart as a result of a previous heart attack
- Blocked blood vessels in the aortic region
- High blood pressure and an imbalance in the body’s blood sugar and salt levels
- Thyroid diseases
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- A high-fat diet
- Certain over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs or supplements
- Drug abuse
- High cholesterol
- Improper sleep patterns
The most common risk factors include:
How is arrhythmia usually treated?
Not all arrhythmias are dangerous or life-threatening. Sometimes, the heart is perfectly healthy, but its regular rhythm is interrupted by emotional stress or physical activity levels. Treatments may be considered if a patient is having recurrent episodes:
- Diagnose and treat the underlying causes: These include diagnosing and treating diabetes, hypertension, or heart diseases.
- Medications: Antiarrhythmic and anticoagulants drugs may be considered to stabilize the heart rhythm.
- Pacemaker: It is a small electronic device that electrically stimulates the heart to maintain an appropriate heart rhythm if the heart rhythm is too slow.
- Implantable cardiac defibrillator: This device monitors and corrects the heart rhythm if it is dangerous.
- Defibrillation: It resets the heart rhythm by sending mild electrical currents to the heart.
- Electrical cardioversion: A mild electrical shock restores a normal heart rhythm while the patient is under anesthesia.
- Catheter ablation: A catheter with an electrode on the end is inserted into the body and directed to the heart, where it gently burns and inactivates the areas responsible for abnormal signals in the atria.
- Surgery: It removes or inactivates the malfunctioning area(s) of the heart.
- Lifestyle changes: These include managing stress, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, eating healthy foods, being physically active, managing blood pressure and cholesterol, and maintaining a healthy body weight.
What can be the outlook of patients with arrhythmia?
Having arrhythmia can increase your risk of stroke, cardiac arrest, and heart attack. For this reason, patients should be sure to control any factors that may put them at further risk. The outlook for a patient who has arrhythmia depends on several factors including age, type, and severity of it. Even serious arrhythmia often has successful treatment. Most people who have an irregular heartbeat live normal, healthy lives if treated appropriately.
Latest Healthy Living News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Happens If Arrhythmia Is Left Untreated? Related Articles
Ablation Therapy for ArrhythmiasThis procedure is used to treat abnormal heart rhythms. Depending on the type of arrhythmia and the presence of other heart disease, a nonsurgical ablation or a surgical ablation, may be performed. During a catheter ablation, catheters are advanced to the heart via blood vessels in the groin, neck, and arm. The conduction system of the heart is mapped and any areas responsible for the arrhythmia are destroyed.
ArrhythmiaAn arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm. With an arrhythmia, the heartbeats may be irregular or too slow (bradycardia), to rapid (tachycardia), or too early. When a single heartbeat occurs earlier than normal, it is called a premature contraction.
Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)A heart attack happens when a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle. A heart attack can cause chest pain, heart failure, and electrical instability of the heart.
Heart Attack PreventionHeart disease and heart attacks can be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle with diet, exercise, and stress management. Symptoms of heart attack in men and women include chest discomfort and pain in the shoulder, neck, jaw, stomach, or back. Women experience the same symptoms as men; however, they also may experience:
- Extreme fatigue
- Pain in the upper abdomen
Leading a healthy lifestyle with a heart healthy low-fat diet, and exercise can help prevent heart disease and heart attack.
Heart Attack Symptoms and Early Warning Signs
Recognizing heart attack symptoms and signs can help save your life or that of someone you love. Some heart attack symptoms, including left arm pain and chest pain, are well known but other, more nonspecific symptoms may be associated with a heart attack. Nausea, vomiting, malaise, indigestion, sweating, shortness of breath, and fatigue may signal a heart attack. Heart attack symptoms and signs in women may differ from those in men.
Heart Failure QuizWhat is heart failure? Learn about this dangerous condition, as well as who is at risk, and what to do about it.
Heart SymptomsHeart attacks symptoms vary greatly for men and women, from anxiety and fatigue to nausea and sweating. Learn the warning signs of a heart attack and know the symptoms that may require an immediate trip to the hospital.
How Long Does an Electrophysiology Study Take?An electrophysiology (EP) study is a test performed to determine the cause of abnormal heart rhythm and it usually takes about one to four hours to complete. However, it may take longer if additional treatments such as catheter ablation are performed at the same time by your heart surgeon.
Is It Normal to Have Irregular Heartbeat After Ablation?Cardiac (heart) ablation is a procedure performed to correct heart arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythm/beat). Cardiac ablation works by intentionally injuring or destroying (ablating) and scarring the tissue in the heart that triggers the abnormal heart rhythm.