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WHAT NEEDED TO BE KNOWN ABOUT HEART IRREGULARITIES/FAILURE

January 3, 2017 - alynchi

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Heart failure is a serious medical condition where the heart does not pump blood around the body as well as it should. This means that your blood can’t deliver enough oxygen and nourishment to your body to allow it to work normally. This, for example, may cause you to feel tired or fatigued. It also means that you can’t eliminate waste products properly leading to a build up of fluid in your lungs and other parts of your body, such as your legs and abdomen.

Although it is called heart ‘failure’, this doesn’t mean that your heart is about to stop working. It does mean that your heart is having difficulty working to meet the needs of your body (especially during activity).

Heart failure can develop at any age but clearly becomes more common with increasing age. Around 1% of people under 65 years of age have heart failure, but 7% of 75-84 year olds have heart failure and this increases to 15% in people older than 85. It is the most common cause of hospitalization in patients over 65 years of age

 

Types:

  • Premature Atrial Contractions, Sometimes Called Pac Or Apc, Or Premature Supraventricular Contractions:This happens when another part of the atria sends an electrical impulse soon after the previous beat, causing the heart to contract earlier than expected. This arrhythmia is a very common occurrence in all ages and usually is not serious.
  • Supraventricular Tachycardia, Or Paroxysmal Svt Or Psvt:SVT occurs when any structure above the ventricle (usually the atria or the AV node) produces a regular, rapid electrical impulse resulting in a rapid heartbeat.
  • Sick Sinus Syndrome:Irregular electrical impulses generated by the SA node cause a slower-than-normal heart rate (sometimes alternating with rapid heart rates if the electrical impulses switch to a high rate).
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White (Wpw) Syndrome:This is an arrhythmia people are born with because they have extra electrical pathways leading from the atrium to the ventricle that can cause tachycardia and particular types of rapid arrhythmias.
  • Atrial Fibrillation:This is a common condition caused by electrical impulses discharged at a rapid rate from many different areas of the atria. It usually causes a fast and irregular heartbeat.
  • Atrial Flutter:This condition is caused by a rapid discharge from a single place in the right atrium. Typically, the right atrium produces electrical impulses at a rate of 300 beats per minute, but only every other beat is conducted through the AV node, meaning that the ventricular rate is classically about 150 beats per minute.

 

Causes:

  • Blocked arteries in your heart (coronary artery disease).
  • High blood pressure.
  • Overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism).
  • Drinking too much alcohol or caffeine.
  • Drug abuse.
  • Certain medications and supplements, including over-the-counter cold and allergy drugs and nutritional supplements.
  • Sleep apnea.
  • Cold and cough medications.
  • Psychotropic drugs (used to treat certain mental illnesses).
  • Antiarrhythmics (paradoxically, the same drugs used to treat arrhythmia can also cause arrhythmia. Your healthcare team will monitor you carefully if you’re taking antiarrhythmic medication).
  • Beta-blockers for high blood pressure.
  • Street drugs such as cocaine, marijuana and “speed” or methamphetamine.

 

Symptoms/Signs:

  • A fluttering in your chest
  • A racing heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • A slow heartbeat (bradycardia)
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight gain
  • Coughing/wheezing uncontrollably
  • Swollen ankles
  • Fainting (syncope) or near fainting.

 

Complications:

Certain arrhythmias may increase your risk of developing conditions such as:

  • When your heart quivers, it’s unable to pump blood effectively, which can cause blood to pool. This can cause blood clots to form. If a clot breaks loose, it can travel from your heart to your brain. There it might block blood flow, causing a stroke.

Certain medications, such as blood thinners, can greatly lower your risk of stroke or damage to other organs caused by blood clots. Your doctor will determine if a blood-thinning medication is appropriate for you, depending on your type of arrhythmia and your risk of blood clots.

  • Heart Failure.Heart failure can result if your heart is pumping ineffectively for a prolonged period due to a bradycardia or tachycardia, such as atrial fibrillation. Sometimes controlling the rate of an arrhythmia that’s causing heart failure can improve your heart’s function.

 

Prevention:

  • Maintaining a healthy eating habit to help purify the heart.
  • Adaptation of a regular exercise routine.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Maintaining a follow-up care on health status.

 

Treatment:

  • Have regular checkups.
  • Understand how some health conditions may increase the risk of abnormal heart rhythms.
  • The pumping function of the heart has to be stable.
  • EF is a measure of the proportion, or fraction, of blood the heart pumps out with each beat. An abnormally low EF is the single most important factor in predicting the risk of sudden cardiac death (dying from an abnormal heart rhythm).
  • Follow treatment plans, and take all medications as prescribed.
  • Report any new symptoms or changes in existing symptoms to your doctor/health care provider as soon as it is been noticed.

 

Article by eDokita Team

Reference

  1. Heart Rhythm Society, treatment of heart disorder. 2016
  2. American Heart Association, Causes of Heat. 2016
  3. Emedicine; Charles Patrick Davis, Types Heart Rhythm Disorders. 2016
  4. Heart Failure Matters, causes and symptoms of heart irregularities. 2016
  5. Mayo clinic; Heart Arrhythmia Diseases symptoms, complication. 2016

alynchi

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