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Arrhythmia

What You Need to Know About Heart Arrhythmia

The week commencing 4th June marks World Heart Rhythm Week, an annual event that aims to raise awareness of the causes and symptoms of heart arrhythmia – both amongst medical professionals and the general public.

In the UK, more than 2 million patients are diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia – or irregular heartbeat – every year. The everyday lives of most people living with an arrhythmia remain largely undisrupted, as long as the symptoms are correctly recognised. Recognising the causes, risk factors and signs of heart arrhythmia can prevent you from developing a more serious health condition.

Causes of Heart Arrhythmia

The risk of developing an arrhythmia increases in older patients. However, in addition to age and genetics, other causes of heart arrhythmia are far more manageable:

  • Stress and anxiety: Excessive and prolonged stress can impact our health in many ways – including negatively affecting the heart’s rhythm.
  • Hypertension: High blood pressure can contribute to an abnormal heartbeat, as poorly- managed hypertension can cause damage to the blood vessels, making it more difficult for the heart to pump blood around the body. Effectively managing hypertension and reducing blood pressure with our blood pressure arm band can help to prevent heart arrhythmia.
  • Smoking: It is no secret that smoking is bad for our health – particularly for our lungs and heart. For tips on quitting smoking, take a look at our smoking cessation blogs.
  • Diabetes: Patients with diabetes – particularly type two diabetes – are more likely to develop an irregular heartbeat, especially if their blood sugar is not managed effectively. Fluctuating blood glucose levels can affect the structure of the heart, negatively effecting a diabetic’s heart rhythm – even if the patient has no history of heart problems. To better manage diabetes and ensure a stable blood glucose level, ensure you monitor your condition with either our plug-in headphone jack glucometer or our hand-held Bluetooth glucometer.
  • Being overweight or obese: As well as the bad habits and lifestyle that lead to carrying too much weight (e.g. overeating, poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption, etc.) being risk factors for heart arrhythmia, being overweight or obese can also cause sleep apnea. This sleep disorder can greatly affect the whole body’s function and put unnecessary stress on the heart, potentially causing changes to the heart’s rhythm.

It is important to recognise that it is not always possible to prevent a heart arrhythmia from developing. An irregular heartbeat itself is not an indicator of poor health, however, making healthy lifestyle changes can help you minimise your risk of developing the condition.

Do I Have a Heart Arrhythmia?

Some people living with a heart arrhythmias have no symptoms. Conversely, symptoms of an irregular heartbeat do not necessarily mean that you have an arrhythmia. These symptoms include dizziness and/or fainting, a shortness of breath and palpitations.

If you think that you may have an arrhythmia, see your GP. They may well refer you for an electrocardiogram (ECG), an electrical recording of your heart rhythm.

If you want to monitor your heart rate at home, our finger pulse oximeter is great for monitoring your pulse and blood oxygen levels.

MySelfCare

MySelfCare is inspired to bring more control, and total peace of mind to the lives of people who are living with long-term health conditions. We strive to provide effective self-care, our home health care devices give more control to patients and their loved ones by allowing them to effectively manage their health.