Heart arrhythmia is an irregularity in the way your heart beats. AFib, one of the most common arrhythmias, affects up to 6 million Americans. While some arrhythmias are harmless, others are serious or life-threatening.
Find expert care for your heart with Azadeh Beheshtian, MD. A trained cardiologist, Dr. Beheshtian sees men and women at her clinic in New York City. Request your first appointment online or by phone today to learn more.
Arrhythmia Q & A
What is a heart arrhythmia?
Arrhythmia is the term used to describe an irregular heartbeat. If you have arrhythmia, your heart might beat too slow, too fast, or in an irregular pattern.
Your heart is made up of four chambers, two upper atria, and two lower ventricles. The sinus node, located in your right atrium, produces electrical pulses that generate your heartbeat. When the electrical pulse changes speed or is interrupted, an arrhythmia occurs.
A normal resting heartbeat is typically between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Tachycardia is a fast heartbeat, or a resting heart rate above 100 beats per minute. Bradycardia is a slow heartbeat, or a resting heart rate below 60 beats per minute.
Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is a common type of tachycardia arrhythmia. It’s an irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, heart failure, and other heart conditions if left untreated.
What are the risk factors for heart arrhythmias?
Many factors influence arrhythmia. Some chronic health conditions that increase your risk for arrhythmia are:
- High blood pressure
- Coronary artery disease
- Thyroid disease
- Sleep apnea
Lifestyle choices can increase your risk too. Common lifestyle risk factors include
- Drug use
- Alcohol use
If you have had a heart attack in the past or changes to your heart’s structure, you may be at increased risk. Heart attacks can leave behind scar tissue that changes the way your heart functions.
What are the symptoms of heart arrhythmias?
Heart arrhythmia can cause distracting or bothersome symptoms, but some people don’t experience any noticeable symptoms. The type of arrhythmia you have impacts the symptoms you notice.
Some noticeable arrhythmia symptoms include:
- A fluttering feeling in your chest
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Not all symptoms indicate a dangerous heart condition. Some people can experience noticeable symptoms even if their arrhythmia is harmless. If you experience severe symptoms, seek emergency medical attention immediately. Even if you don’t experience noticeable symptoms, you may be at risk. To learn more and manage your risk, make an appointment with Dr. Beheshtian. Call the office or book an appointment online today to get started.