That fleeting feeling in your chest; your heart skipping a beat, or even being breath taken; it could all be signs of being in love, or, in the medical field, it could be the signs of cardiac dysrhythmia (or arrhythmia). The human heart is like the electrical hub of the body. When any electrical hub is disturbed, a slight bump may cause the lights to flicker, or in the worst case, cause the lights to go out; permanently. The same can be said of the human heart. Irregularities in your heart, whether it is one that beats too fast (tachycardia) or one that beats too slow (bradycardia); may not all be life threatening conditions, but some can lead to cardiac arrest
A normal heartbeats at a rate of 60-100 beats per minute. Cardiac dysrhythmia occurs when there is a disturbance in the normal rhythm of the heart. Atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter are two of the most common types of cardiac dysrhythmia. “These atrial arrhythmias may interfere with the heart’s ability to pump blood properly from its upper chambers (atria). The atria may not always empty completely, and blood remaining there too long may stagnate and potentially clot. Such clots may travel to other parts of the body, where they may cause blockages in the blood supply to the limbs, brain or heart. ("Cardiac Arrhythmias." Cardiac Arrhythmias. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2013, retrieved from http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/) The American Heart Association reports that 383,000 emergency out-of-hospital treated cardiac arrests occur in the United States. A number of factors can cause cardiac dysrhythmia; smoking, heavy alcohol use, drugs (ie; cocaine or amphetamines), some prescription or over-the-counter medicines, or even too much caffeine or nicotine. Emotional distress may also cause the heart to work and pump harder, raising the blood pressure and release stress hormones; causing arrhythmias. Strong emotional stress or anger can make the heart work harder, raise blood pressure, and release stress hormones. Sometimes these reactions can lead to arrhythmias.
(Figure 1 - http://www4.dr-rath-foundation.org)
Arrhythmias are common in older adults; they are more likely to suffer from health problems and heart disease. They also tend to be more sensitive to the medications prescribed to them and some medications may even cause arrhythmias as a side effect! There are other types of arrhythmias that happen in children and young adults that causes a fast heart rate that...