An irregular heartbeat is known as a heart arrhythmia. Heart rhythm issues arise when the electrical impulses that regulate the heart’s beats fail to function correctly. As a result, the heart beats too quickly (tachycardia), too slowly (bradycardia), or erratically due to malfunctioning signals. Heart arrhythmias are often harmless.
Sometimes having a slow or rapid heart rate is completely normal. For instance, the heart rate rises during physical activity or drops during sleep. However, some can result in uncomfortable and life-threatening symptoms, including a heart attack.
Blood pressure can drop significantly due to an arrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation. People may collapse in seconds, at which point their pulse and breathing will stop. One should seek immediate medical attention if they have an irregular heartbeat accompanied by shortness of breath, weakness, lightheadedness, fainting or near-fainting, and chest pain or discomfort.
Heart arrhythmia treatment options include drugs, catheter treatments, implanted devices, or surgery. A heart-healthy way of living can aid in preventing the kind of cardiac damage that can result in some heart arrhythmias.