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Irregular Heartbeat or Arrhythmia

Just about everyone has felt their heart race, “flutter” or feel like it is “skipping a beat” – a common occurrence that can also occur with age.

While it may feel odd or even alarming, an irregular heartbeat doesn't necessarily mean your heart is beating too fast or too slow. It may just mean your heart is beating out of its normal rhythm.

In addition to the sensation of your heart skipping a beat or fluttering, symptoms can include dizziness, light-headedness, pounding in the chest, chest pain or tightness, fainting, shortness of breath, weakness or fatigue.

While some people may know or can feel when this is happening, those who have a “silent” arrhythmia may not feel anything at all. You can also have an arrhythmia even if your heart is healthy.

Other causes of arrhythmia can include heart disease, an imbalance of electrolytes such as sodium or potassium in your diet or blood, or due to changes in your heart muscle, an injury from a heart attack or the healing process after heart surgery.

Most cases are harmless, but some arrhythmias are extremely dangerous and require treatment and management.

What Can Be Done

It’s important to get regular physicals or wellness checkups since an arrhythmia can be silent. However, if you are experiencing ongoing symptoms or feel something is “off” or unusual about your heartbeat, contact our physicians immediately to relay your concerns.

Your cardiologist may find an irregular heartbeat during a physical exam or he or she may order an Electrocardiogram or “EKG,” a stress test or some other type diagnostic tool to help determine if you have an arrhythmia and exactly what kind of arrhythmia you have.

Your doctor may prescribe a medication that can help regulate your heartbeat or, for more serious arrhythmias, he or she may recommend a surgical procedure or an implant.