Table of contents:
- Main symptoms of arrhythmia
- Who is most at risk for arrhythmia
- How the diagnosis is made
- How the treatment is done
- How to prevent cardiac arrhythmia
Symptoms of cardiac arrhythmia include a feeling that the heart is pounding or racing and can occur in people with a he althy heart or who already have heart disease, such as high blood pressure or heart failure.
Arrhythmia can occur at any age, but it is more common in the elderly and in most cases, it is identified in routine exams and not by symptoms. However, in some cases symptoms of palpitation may be accompanied by a feeling of weakness, dizziness, malaise, shortness of breath, chest pain, paleness or cold sweat, for example, indicating more serious heart rhythm problems.
When you experience any symptoms that make you suspect an arrhythmia, it is important to seek medical help immediately or go to the nearest emergency room. In addition, it is important to consult a cardiologist for follow-up and the most appropriate treatment, preventing complications.
Main symptoms of arrhythmia
The main symptoms that may indicate a cardiac arrhythmia are:
- Heart palpitation;
- Heart racing or slow;
- Chest pain;
- Shortness of breath;
- Sensation of lump in the throat;
- Feeling weak;
- Dizziness or fainting;
- Cold sweat.
If you have any of these symptoms, seek medical help as soon as possible or the nearest emergency room.
Check out other signs that could indicate heart problems.
Who is most at risk for arrhythmia
Cardiac arrhythmia can arise for no apparent reason or due to a natural aging process, for example. However, some factors can increase the risk of developing cardiac arrhythmia and include:
- Cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, heart attack or heart failure;
- Having had heart surgery before;
- High blood pressure;
- Birth disease of the heart;
- Thyroid problems such as hyperthyroidism;
- Diabetes, especially when it is out of control, with blood sugar levels always high;
- Sleep Apnea;
- Chemical imbalances in the blood such as changes in the concentration of potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium;
- Use of medications such as digitalis or salbutamol or flu remedies that contain phenylephrine, for example;
- Wounds Disease;
- Excessive coffee consumption.
In addition, excessive consumption of alcohol or drugs of abuse, such as cocaine or amphetamines, can alter heart rhythm and increase the risk of cardiac arrhythmia.
How the diagnosis is made
The diagnosis of cardiac arrhythmia is made by a cardiologist who evaluates the he alth history and symptoms, as well as the possibility of using medication or drugs of abuse.
Exams to diagnose arrhythmia
In addition to medical evaluation, some laboratory tests may also be requested, which are essential to confirm the diagnosis and identify the cause of the arrhythmia:
- Laboratory tests such as blood count, blood levels of magnesium, calcium, sodium and potassium;
- Examination of troponin blood levels to assess cardiac contraction;
- Thyroid tests;
- Ergometric test;
- 24-hour Holter.
Other tests that may be requested are echocardiography, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging or nuclear scintigraphy, for example.
How the treatment is done
The treatment of arrhythmia will depend on the symptoms, severity and risk of complications of the arrhythmia. Generally, in milder cases, the treatment can include a simple orientation, changes in life habits, periodic medical follow-up or interruption of the use of medications that caused the arrhythmia.
In more severe cases of cardiac arrhythmia, treatment can be done with medication prescribed by the doctor or surgery, for example. See more details about the treatment of cardiac arrhythmia.
How to prevent cardiac arrhythmia
Some lifestyle changes can help prevent the development of cardiac arrhythmia such as:
- Eat a he althy and balanced diet;
- Practice physical activities regularly;
- Losing weight in cases of obesity or overweight;
- Avoid smoking;
- Reduce alcohol consumption;
- Avoid the use of medications that contain cardiac stimulants, such as phenylephrine.
Also, it is important to avoid situations that can cause stress and anxiety, to prevent the risk of cardiac arrhythmia or other heart problems. See tips on how to reduce stress.
In our podcast, Dr. Ricardo Alckmin clarifies the main doubts about cardiac arrhythmia: