What is Arrhythmia?

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Arrhythmia simply refers to irregular beating of the heart. When the heart beats too fast, the condition is called tachycardia. On the other hand, when the heart beats too slowly, it is called bradycardia. The heart can also have premature contraction or it can also beat too inconsistently—a condition called fibrillation.

The term arrhythmia originates from the combination of rhymos and the prefix “a.” Rhymos refers to the Greek word which means “rhythm,” while the prefix “a” means “loss.” When these two are combined, the resulting term will mean “loss of rhythm.” In general, arrhythmias refer to heart rhythm problems, which happens when the electrical impulses that are responsible for the coordination of heartbeats are interfered and are not functioning properly.

Many kinds of arrhythmias can be considered as harmless. It is also normal for people to occasionally experience irregular beating of the heart, and may characterize it as fluttering or a heart that is racing. However, there are some cases wherein irregular heartbeats caused by a weak heart or those which are too far from normal, can lead to other adverse and fatal symptoms.

Some people who experience arrhythmia do not seem to notice any symptoms, and some signs of the condition may only be detected by a physician while performing an examination or check-up. A symptom is something that a patient feels or experiences, while a sign is something which can be detected by members of the patient’s household or by a physician.

Even if some people detect certain symptoms, it does not automatically mean that the individual has a serious health problem. It is ironic that some patients who experience symptoms do not actually have any major health condition, while some who do not feel any symptom at all are the ones which have arrhythmias that are life-threatening.

Some of the symptoms that a person with tachycardia (rapid beating of the heart) may experience include, dizziness, fluttering of the heart, breathlessness, lightheadedness, sudden weakness, and syncope. On the other hand, some of the most common symptoms of bradycardia (slow heartbeat) include dizziness, confusion, angina, lightheadedness, syncope, problems with concentration, shortness of breath, and palpitations. Lastly, people with atrial fibrillation may feel symptoms, such as weakness, dizziness, syncope, angina, palpitations, and shortness of breath.