8 diseases that cause cardiac arrhythmia

Cardiac arrhythmia is any change in the rhythm of the heartbeat, which can cause it to beat faster, slower or simply out of rhythm. The frequency of heartbeats in one minute considered normal in an individual at rest, is between 60 to 100.

Cardiac arrhythmia can be benign or malignant, with benign types being the most common. Benign cardiac arrhythmias are those that do not alter the function and performance of the heart and do not pose a greater risk of death, and can be controlled with medication and physical activity. Malignant ones, on the other hand, worsen with effort or exercise and can lead to death.

Causes of cardiac arrhythmia

The causes of cardiac arrhythmia can be:

1. Anemia

Anemia is a reduction in the number of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood to values ​​below normal, causing symptoms such as excessive tiredness, drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, loss of memory and lack of appetite. See what type of anemia may be the cause of the arrhythmia .

2. Anxiety and stress

Stress and anxiety can cause various health problems due to altered cortisol production, causing symptoms such as changes in heart rate, sweating, tremors, dizziness or dry mouth, for example. Learn how to control stress and anxiety .

3. Severe hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism consists of low thyroid activity, which does not produce enough hormones to satisfy the body’s needs, causing numerous symptoms. See which and how to treat this disease .

4. Coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease consists of the obstruction of the blood vessels that irrigate the heart, due to the accumulation of fatty plaques inside, making it difficult for blood to pass to the heart. See what the symptoms and how is the treatment of coronary heart disease .

5. Diseases of the heart muscle

These diseases arise when the heart has difficulty in pumping blood throughout the body, causing symptoms such as tiredness, night cough or swelling in the legs at the end of the day.

6. Valve disease

Valvulopathies are diseases that affect the heart valves, such as the tricuspid, mitral, pulmonary and aortic valves, hampering their functioning and may cause symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain or swelling. 

7. Infectious diseases, such as Chagas disease

Chagas disease is caused by the bite of a mosquito infected by a parasite called Trypanossoma cruzi, which  can cause heart problems such as enlargement of the heart’s ventricles and heart failure. Find out how this disease is treated .

8. Congenital heart disease

Congenital heart disease is characterized by a change in the structure of the heart that forms before birth.

In addition to these diseases, there are other factors that can cause arrhythmia, such as side effects of some medications, drug use, strenuous exercise, heart cell failures, changes in sodium, potassium and calcium concentrations in the body or complications after surgery cardiac

Cardiac arrhythmia symptoms

Symptoms of cardiac arrhythmia can be:

  • Heart palpitation and fast pulse;
  • Sensation of a lump in the throat;
  • Dizziness;
  • Fainting;
  • Feeling of weakness;
  • Easy tiredness;
  • Chest pain;
  • Lack of air;
  • Discomfort

In some cases, the symptoms are not present and the doctor only discovers the disease when checking the individual’s pulse or when performing a cardiac auscultation, having to perform an electrocardiogram to confirm the presence of arrhythmia.

Diagnosis of cardiac arrhythmia

The diagnosis of cardiac arrhythmia can be made through tests such as:

  • Electrocardiogram;
  • 24 hour holter;
  • Exercise testing;
  • Electrophysiological study (EPS);
  • Tilt test.

The cardiologist is the one who must order and evaluate these tests and it is not necessary to do all of them to reach the diagnosis.

Treatment for cardiac arrhythmia

Treatment for cardiac arrhythmia will depend on the type of arrhythmia. It can be performed through medication, pacemaker, lifestyle change or in some cases, ablation surgery.

Cardiac pacemaker placement is indicated for individuals who have certain types of low-frequency arrhythmias. You need to follow the treatment correctly and for life, as some types of cardiac arrhythmia can kill. See what care is needed after placing the pacemaker .

Some examples of remedies used in cardiac arrhythmia are: propafenone, sotalol, dofetilide, amiodarone and ibutilide.

Is cardiac arrhythmia curable?

Cardiac arrhythmias can be cured or controlled when diagnosed in time. They can be reversed with the treatment of their causes, using specific medications or implanting a pacemaker or cardiodefibrillators.

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