What Are Heart Arrhythmias? Symptoms, Risk, and Treatments for Irregular Heartbeats
What is arrhythmia?
You can go months without even noticing your heartbeat. As long as it’s pumping along as it should, your heart can be easy to ignore. But occasionally, you might notice something odd—an irregular heartbeat, which is also called a heart arrhythmia. Your heart might beat a little faster, slower, or feel somehow off.
“The term arrhythmia refers to what is essentially a short circuit in the electrical system of the heart cells that coordinate contraction of the heart and the rate at which the heart beats,” says Hugh Parker, MD, a cardiologist with UCHealth Heart and Vascular Center–Cherry Creek and assistant professor with the CU School of Medicine, Denver. It might feel like your heart is “fluttering” or skipping a beat. Or possibly it might feel like your heartbeat is very fast and pounding.
Many arrhythmias are benign, but they may signal a serious or life-threatening condition. Here’s what you should know about the risks and how to protect your heart. (Be sure to know the signs of an unhealthy heart.)
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