Is your heartbeat too slow, too fast, too early and irregular? If yes, then you could be suffering from arrhythmia. It is a condition in which your heart may beat irregularly, too slowly or too quickly.


Though many arrhythmias are harmless, but the ones manifesting due to a damaged or weak heart are abnormal. Such arrhythmias can be potentially damaging and life-threatening and are associated with fatal symptoms. They may lead to cardiac arrest and stroke.


When electrical signals that govern heartbeat do not work properly or go haywire, they cause abnormal or irregular heartbeats. Racing heart, fluttering, irregular heartbeats – are the manifestations of such a condition (arrhythmia).


The signs and symptoms of heart arrhythmia include the following:

  • Slow heartbeat or bradycardia
  • Quick or racing heartbeat tachycardia
  • Fluttering in the chest
  • Near fainting or Fainting (syncope)
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath, breathlessness and palpitations
  • Discomfort in chest or chest pain


Note: Some arrhythmias have no symptoms. A slow heartbeat doesn’t always mean an illness or arrhythmia. Even if someone experiences symptoms it doesn’t necessarily mean that the person has some serious problem. Some persons having typical symptoms of an

arrhythmia may not have any serious problem or arrhythmia, but some with life-threatening arrhythmias may not have any symptom at all.


Causes of Arrhythmias

The causes of arrhythmia are many including mental stress, smoking and diabetes. The other factors that can cause the heart to work abnormally include the following:

  • Structural changes in the heart
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Some medicines
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Excessive caffeine consumption
  • Some herbal and dietary supplements
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Drug Abuse
  • Smoking
  • Defects of the adrenal gland
  • Scarring of heart due to heart attack


Types of Arrhythmias

Tachycardia: When your heart beats too fast or quicker, the condition is known as Tachycardia. If you have this condition, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Sudden weakness
  • Light-headedness
  • Fluttering in the chest
  • Dyspnea (breathlessness)
  • Nearly fainting or fainting (syncope)
  • Dizziness


Bradycardia: When your heart beats slower than normal, the condition is known as Bradycardia. If you have this condition, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain (Angina)
  • Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating or Diaphoresis
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Palpitations
  • Light-headedness
  • confusion
  • difficulties when exercising
  • Fainting or nearly fainting (syncope)


Atrial fibrillation

In this condition of the heart, the upper chambers of the heartbeat abnormally in a pattern which is asynchronous with the lower chambers (Fast tremulous movements in the atrium). Symptoms may manifest rapidly, but in some cases, there are no symptoms. If you have this condition, you may have the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Nearly fainting experience or fainting (syncope)
  • Palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Breathlessness
  • Weakness

Atrial flutter

In atrial flutter, one area in the atrium doesn’t conduct properly – owing to which, there is abnormal conduction with a consistent pattern – which is not suitable for pumping blood through the heart. Atrial flutter may lead to abnormal heartbeats numbering up to a few hundred times per minute. Untreated atrial flutter may lead to fibrillation.


Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)

An individual with this condition may have a burst of accelerated heartbeats which are irregular and abnormally rapid heartbeats. The condition can last for a few seconds to a few hours. The patient with this condition has 160 to 200 heartbeats per minute. Flutter and atrial fibrillation come under SVTs.