An arrhythmia is a medical term that describes an irregular heartbeat. People who have arrhythmia have a heart that beats too fast, too slow, or irregular. The normal heart rate for an adult falls between 60 and 100 beats pear minute. Tachycardia is the term that describes a heart rate that is over 100 beats per minute. Bradycardia is a term that describes a heart rate that is below 60 beats per minute. It is important to note that most cases arrhythmia are not serious. However, some of them may be life-threatening, so people who are experiencing an irregular heartbeat should see a doctor for evaluation.
Most people are aware that they are experiencing an arrhythmia because the symptoms are usually very obvious. Some of the symptoms of an irregular heartbeat include a fast heartbeat, slow heartbeat, or pauses and skips in between beats. If those symptoms are accompanied by shortness of breath and chest pain, that warrants the need for immediate medical attention. Doctors will perform a thorough assessment on the patient which will consist of a complete physical exam and taking medical history. There are a variety of treatment options available for those who have arrhythmia. Medications such as beta blockers and calcium channel blockers are designed to slow down a fast heartbeat. Patients who have arrhythmia caused by an underlying disorder may also be prescribed a medication to treat it.
Patients who have arrhythmia that is severe and life-threatening will most likely be referred to a cardiologist. A cardiologist may recommend placing a pacemaker in the patientâ€™s chest. A pacemaker is a device that helps a personâ€™s heart maintain a steady beat. The good news is that most people who have arrhythmia can live normal lives as long as they are given the right treatment by their doctor.