An arrhythmia is a heart rhythm problem that causes your heart to beat too fast or too slow. Other than feeling the change in your heartbeat, you may not have any other symptoms with an arrhythmia. However, your irregular heartbeat may be a sign of an underlying heart condition. At Downriver Heart and Vascular Specialists in Southgate, Michigan, the team specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of arrhythmia. For comprehensive care from a team that puts you first, call the Downriver area office or book an appointment online today.
An arrhythmia means there’s a problem with the rhythm or rate of your heartbeat.
The rhythm of your heartbeat is controlled by your natural pacemaker, the sinus node. Located in the upper right chamber of your heart (right atrium), the sinus node produces an electrical signal that initiates your heartbeat.
These electrical impulses also trigger the contractions of your heart muscle to pump blood through the chambers of your heart and out to the rest of your body.
When at rest, a healthy heart beats 60 to 100 times a minute.
With an arrhythmia, your heart may beat too fast, too slow, or irregularly. These rhythm changes determine arrhythmia type, such as:
Tachycardia means your heartbeat is too fast. Atrial fibrillation is a type of tachycardia caused by changes in the electrical impulses in the atria of the heart.
Bradycardia means the rhythm of your heartbeat is too slow.
People with sick sinus syndrome (disrupted or blocked electrical impulses) may experience episodes of bradycardia and tachycardia.
An arrhythmia may develop from a medical or social cause. Medical causes of arrhythmia include changes in the structure of the heart or damage to your heart’s electrical system.
Too much caffeine, smoking, or stress may also affect the normal rhythm of your heart.
The team at Downriver Heart and Vascular Specialists conducts a comprehensive evaluation to diagnose an arrhythmia.
During your visit, they review your symptoms, medical history, and family history and then perform a physical exam. To assess heart health and rhythm, they may perform:
EKG is a noninvasive in-office test that measures electrical activity in your heart at that moment in time.
The Holter monitor is a portable EKG that allows your cardiovascular specialist to collect cardiac data while you go about your usual activities.
An echocardiogram is an ultrasound test that allows your provider to see the structure and motion of your heart.
An EEG measures electrical activity in the brain and diagnoses conditions like a seizure disorder or a stroke. In some people, seizures and arrhythmias may occur at the same time or one may occur immediately before or after the other.
The team at Downriver Heart and Vascular Specialists develops individualized treatment plans for your arrhythmia based on type and cause. Treatment may include:
In some cases, your provider may recommend lifestyle modification to improve the rhythm of your heart, such as smoking cessation.
To schedule an appointment with the cardiovascular specialists at Downriver Heart and Vascular Specialists, call or book an appointment online today.