What are Dysrhythmias?
A dysrhythmia, sometimes called an arrhythmia, is a disorder of the heart rate or heart rhythm, such as beating too fast, too slow or irregularly. They can be a sign of some form of heart disease, but they can also be completely harmless. They are not always there; they can come and go, which makes it difficult for your doctor to diagnose. Sometimes they can be severe and have serious heart complications.
Dysrhythmias may be caused by substances or drugs, including amphetamines, caffeine, cocaine and beta blockers.
How common are Dysrhythmias?
Some arrhythmias are very minor and can be regarded as normal variants. In fact, most people will on occasion feel their heart skip a beat, or give an occasional extra strong beat; neither of these is usually a cause for alarm.
What are the symptoms of Dysrhythmias?
An arrhythmia may be present all of the time or it may come and go. You may or may not feel symptoms when the arrhythmia is present. Symptoms can be mild, severe or life-threatening, and include chest pain, fainting, palpitations, dizziness, paleness, shortness of breath and sweating.
How are Dysrhythmias treated?
When an arrhythmia is serious you may need urgent treatment to restore a normal rhythm, including electrical shock therapy, implanting a pace maker, or taking medication intravenously.
Medications may be used to prevent an arrhythmia from happening again, or to keep your heart rate regular. These are called anti-arrhythmic drugs.
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