What is an arrhythmia?

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Submitted by Dr T on February 9, 2012 – 11:25am

I have this irregular heart beat. How do I know whether it is an arrhythmia?Thanks a lot,Sandra

Hi Sandra,

Arrhythmias are disorders of your heart’s electrical system, causing a change in the regular beat of your heart. The heart may beat too quickly (tachycardia), or too slowly (bradycardia) or irregularly, all of which may affect the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body.

Arrhythmias can occur in the upper chambers of the heart (atria) or in the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles). An arrhythmia may occur at any age, and are most often a nuisance rather than a serious problem.

Arrhythmias may be caused by many different factors, but irregular heart rhythms can also occur in “normal, healthy” hearts. Especially if these irregular heart beats are new, you should be evaluated by your doctor and undergo testing to see whether they are a health risk to you. Treatment depends on the findings.

Hope this helps,

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