An arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat or abnormal heartbeat rhythm. The heart may beat too fast (tachycardia) or too slow (bradycardia). It occurs if the heart skips a beat or has an extra beat. Arrhythmias are common. For most people, they are minor and not serious. However, they can be severe or life-threatening if you have other heart problems.

Types of arrhythmia commonly seen are as follows,

  • Atrial fibrillation: Heart beats irregularly and too fast. It can increase your risk of stroke.
  • Paroxysmal atrial tachycardia: Heart has episodes of beating too fast. It is not severe.
  • Ectopic beats: Heart has an extra beat. Seek treatment if you have several extra beats in a row and/or other heart problems.
  • Ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation: The heart beats too fast. It require immediate treatment.

How bad is my arrhythmia?

Mild: Heart is skipping a beat or heart is beating too fast (palpitations).

Most of the time, mild arrhythmia can be safely managed at home.

Moderate: You may experience sweating, irregular heartbeats and fluttering in your chest. It can sometimes be safely managed at home or may require the attention of medical team.

Severe: You may feel dizzy or light-headed, shortness of breath, fainting and heavy chest pain. It may be an emergency and require additional medical treatments or hospitalization in some cases.

How to manage mild arrhythmia?

Keep track of your heart beats using Ankr (myAnkr web portal or the Ankr app). It will help you describe the severity to your doctor or nurse.

  • Limit alcohol use and stop smoking.
  • Maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise.
  • Avoid or limit caffeine, which is in coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate.
  • Work with your doctor to manage heart disease or other health problems.

How to manage moderate to severe arrhythmia?

Consult your physician right away if you have

What causes arrhythmia?

  • Family history
  • Certain type of cancer treatments ( chemo drugs, targeted therapy drugs)
  • Lifestyle habits (alcohol, smoking)
  • Stress
  • Obesity
  • Lung disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Congenital heart disease (CHD)
  • Abnormal heart valve function
  • Heart failure. 

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