You need a healthy heart to live a long and happy life, doing the things you enjoy and spending time with family and friends. Your heart is the size of a clenched fist and usually beats unnoticed in a synchronized rhythm, around 100,000 times every day. However, if you feel a sudden shift in your heartbeat, like your heart is skipping a beat, flopping about, or racing, you may be a bit taken aback. These symptoms of arrhythmia, also known as an irregular heartbeat, are quite common and in many cases may be harmless with no real threat. However, there are other situations in which these symptoms are signs of a serious medical condition that requires interventional cardiology services in Suffolk County, NY.
How Does Your Heart Work?
Most people will experience a heart palpitation or a change in their heartbeat at some point or another in their lives. Yet it’s important to keep in mind that all irregular heartbeats result from some sort of electrical abnormality in your cardiovascular system, and an evaluation by a trusted cardiology specialist may put your mind at ease. Think of it this way: your heart operates on its own internal electrical system in which every beat begins with a pulse produced by a clump of tissue called the sinus or “SA” node in your heart’s upper right chamber. This electrical signal travels from your heart’s atrium to the upper left chamber before moving down to the two lower chambers, or ventricles. As the signal travels through the different chambers, they contract in a smooth and synchronized manner. Any glitch in this pattern generates an arrhythmia.
What Causes an Irregular Heartbeat?
As experts in cardiology treatment and cardiology services will tell you, sometimes the beats between the upper and lower chambers may lose cycle and reset. During this act of resetting, you may feel like your heart is skipping a beat, when in reality your heart does an extra beat while it gets things back in order. Many arrhythmias are short-term and not life threatening. Caffeine consumption, anxiety, stress, and illicit drugs can cause temporary irregular heartbeats. In more serious cases, an abnormal heartbeat can be a sign of heart disease or other health condition that needs a consultation with a doctor.
When Should I See a Doctor?
If you think you may be experiencing irregular heartbeats very frequently, it may be time to visit a doctor. If your symptoms persist, it’s time to get your heart checked out. The same is true if you suffer from diabetes, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, or congestive heart failure. Plus, if your family has a history of heart disease, it’s in your best interest to get screened for something more serious. Symptoms of lightheadedness, chest pain, and difficulty breathing coupled with an irregular heart rhythm require immediate medical attention. You need to be evaluated for more dangerous arrhythmias that could lead to sudden cardiac arrest.
When Should I Wait It Out?
If you haven’t experienced any of the above symptoms and you don’t have risk factors such as diabetes or high blood pressure, you may be fine to wait and see whether your irregular heartbeat was indeed temporary. Think about what may have triggered it, such as medication, stress, or stimulants such as coffee and energy drinks. If you minimize your caffeine intake, stay away from smoking and try stress-relieving exercises, such as deep breathing, yoga, and meditation, you may be able to help your health as well! Making sure your heart is healthy is crucial in keeping irregular heartbeats under control. If the arrhythmia continues or returns after you’ve removed the suspected cause, you will want to get it checked out by cardiac specialists who use state-of-the-art testing to diagnose any problems with your heart. Then you can look at appropriate treatment options to ensure your heart health is taken care of.
If you have questions or concerns about an irregular heartbeat, make an appointment with the cardiology specialists at Peconic Bay Medical Center today!